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K.U. Lowers Lake For Bridge Work

Lowering Herrington Lake To 727 Feet

Walsh Construction Company has finished assembling the mammoth girders—the biggest measuring 136-feet long and weighing 179,000 pounds each—that make up the skeleton of the new Kennedy Mill Bridge. They are now paving the approach to the bridge on the Mercer County side and will work through the winter pouring concrete.

Robert Moore

Kentucky Utilities announced winter pool on Herrington Lake will be 727 feet this year. Currently, the lake level is at 730.3 feet and the Dix Dam hydro units are in service to draw down the lake level. According to the Herrington Lake Conservation League, it will take approximately three days to reach winter pool.

K.U. is doing this to help accommodate construction of the replacement for the Kennedy Mill Bridge.

“They typically go to 725 feet around this time,” said Walsh Construction Company Project Manager Kevin J. Buch, P.E. “They are planning to hold at 727 feet to help facilitate construction through the winter months.”

For the past month, Walsh has been moving mammoth girders into place with cranes. With that phase of construction finished, the contractor has been paving the approach to the bridge on the Mercer County side.

Buch said they are working on installing decking and will work through the winter pouring concrete. The contractor—and the motorists and marinas who rely on the bridge—are hoping for a mild winter.

While much local attention has been focused on the replacement of Kennedy Mill Bridge, which connects Mercer and Garrard Counties, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has released a list naming more than 1,000 bridges throughout the Commonwealth being restored through the Bridging Kentucky program.

According to a KYTC press release, Bridging Kentucky is one of the nation’s most aggressive bridge rehabilitation and replacement programs. It represents an unprecedented commitment by Gov. Matt Bevin and the Kentucky General Assembly to improve the safety and soundness of bridges throughout Kentucky. This list of critical structures includes state, county and municipal bridges that are rated in poor condition or have restricted weight limits. More than 60 of the bridges on the list are currently closed to traffic.

The list includes 1,055 structures that will be addressed over the next six years. More than 40 percent of the bridges will be rehabilitated to extend their life by at least 30 years. Nearly 60 percent of the projects will be new bridges that will last at least 75 years.

The program’s initial focus will be to rehab or replace more than 340 bridges.

About two dozen bridge projects have already moved to the construction phase since the program was launched this summer. Another 10 bridges will be ready for construction before the end of the year, and KYTC has plans to prepare more than 400 bridges for construction by the end of 2019.

Last week, KYTC representatives discussed the Bridging Kentucky program with industry officials during a forum in Elizabethtown. Similar events are planned in four other locations in late October and early November.

The goal of the forums is to inform and collect important feedback primarily from contractors, subcontractors, disadvantaged business enterprises and utility firms that may participate in the six-year program. Through these conversations with industry stakeholders, KYTC and the Bridging Kentucky program team expect to gain insights that will help efficiently manage the unique program and educate businesses about the business opportunities being created by the $700 million bridge program.

Bridging Kentucky has launched a website and social media channels to share additional information about the program. The site,, provides an overview of the program, a list of frequently asked questions and the full list of bridges that will be addressed through the program. Additional updates on Bridging Kentucky will be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Last month, the state agreed to provide an incentive to Walsh to speed up construction of the replacement for the Kennedy Mill Bridge. The contractor hopes to have the new span in place this spring, Buch said.

To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.

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