The demolition of the Old Ledbetter Bridge at Paducah continues as the final remains of the structure go down. The contractor has continued conventional demolition of the approach spans while engineers work on viable options for removing the in-water piers, which may take several weeks.
Monday a demolition crew removed the final remnants of three west approach spans that collapsed due to land movement in June, but the concrete piers in the Tennessee River may be more challenging.
The contractor had planned to place a platform on the piers, drill them for placement of explosives, then bring them down with a series of controlled detonations, however the detonation blast on the last steel truss section over the river October 1st rocked the piers, causing damage to the concrete structures. Cracks left in the piers raised safety questions about the drilling process.
Still, the contractor plans to have the site cleared by December 1st.
The Old Ledbetter Bridge went into service in 1931. In January 2012 it had to be restricted to a 3-ton load limit. Completion of the new U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter was expedited and traffic flow moved to the new structure on July 31, 2013.