Featured Project: Kentucky Lake Bridge Project

In a previous article, we provided some information about the collapse of a span of the Eggners Ferry Bridge in Kentucky in 2012. Now we’re back to feature the project that replaced the whole structure of the Eggners Ferry Bridge, the Kentucky Lake Bridge Project. We spoke with Brandon Stidham, the Project Engineer, and Mike Brown, the Area Manager, of “Johnson Bros Corporation, a Southland Company,” to learn more about the impressive project. Stidham and Brown have been a part of the project since June 2014, when the job site was mobilized. Both have prior experience working on challenging, large scale heavy civil marine projects.

The original contract value of the project is $131,501,214.28, and its project design team included: KYTC, Michael Baker International (EOR), Palmer Engineering, and Terracon. Some of the project’s vendors were Veritas Steel, Greens Bayou Pipe Mill, Skyline Steel, Federal Materials and Wirerope Works.

A number of different pieces of heavy equipment made the reconstruction of the bridge possible. Due to the weight of the pier piling and hydraulic hammer, an IHC S800 from Holland, Johnson Bros utilized two Manitowoc 4100 Ringer cranes on barges with sponsons. A Manitowoc 2250 and Manitowoc 4100 which were also used for erecting the arch outside of the main channel and placing concrete via crane and bucket. Additionally, an International Construction Equipment’s (ICE) 200C, a very large quad clamp vibratory hammer was used to seat piles for stabilization prior to driving with the large hydraulic hammer. Based on the requirements in the contract, Johnson Bros was required to have a large tug with 1800 HP minimum throughout a majority of the construction to assist large river tows as they came through the tight navigable limits of the project.

The means and methods that Johnson Bros chose for this project along with its complex design made it very innovative and unique. The steel pier piling were ordered full length, up to 199’ long and 72”x2” WT. The piling were very challenging to stand, secure, and drive, but it eliminated the time delays associated with splicing. Additionally, Johnson Bros chose to erect the 2600 ton 550’Lx94’Wx110’T basket handle tied arch (the main span) outside of the channel on 4 barges. Once erected, the structure was floated out into an offset location in the channel and lifted via 8 strand jacks from VSL. It was then maneuvered horizontally until centered over the bearings with air tuggers. Once on centerline, it was set down on the permanent bearings.

The largest challenges on the project were handling the very large, heavy steel pipe pile for the piers, constructing the large main span footers with dimensions of 138’Lx42’Wx12’D (taking two separate placements of 18hrs and 29hrs to complete each), and erecting the massive arch on barges for a float in at a later date. Access was also a challenge throughout the project due to the new causeway being built up under a previous contract. The team had to get creative when mobilizing large items such as cranes, approach girders, and the arch span steel. Lastly, the project is located immediately adjacent to Land Between the Lakes in Trigg County, Kentucky. Due to the close proximity to the conservation area and rural surroundings, the team experienced many hurdles related to wildlife.

Johnson Bros makes safety a top priority. With the complexity of the project and size of the materials handled, Johnson Bros was successful in constructing the entire bridge without any major incidents and injuries.

According to Stidham and Brown, the project was very rewarding to be a part of, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet was a great owner to work for. Johnson Bros built a relationship with the owner and strived to give them the very best product possible for motorists to enjoy for years to come.

You can learn more about this outstanding project here!