Gov. Beshear attends ribbon cutting for new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge
SMITHLAND, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear joined area officials and Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray for a ribbon cutting celebrating the opening of the new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge.
The ribbon cutting and bridge dedication was held Monday afternoon, May 15.
The governor also unveiled new highway signage paying tribute to the late Jim R. Smith, for whom the bridge is named and founder of the company that built it. The 2022 General Assembly approved the naming as a tribute to the Smithland native.
According to KYTC, the 1,912-foot-long blue truss bridge is expected to open to traffic on Monday or Tuesday, weather permitting.
“Kentuckians are going to love their new bridge, which will make their commutes safer,” Governor Beshear said. “This standout bridge assembled at the Paducah Riverport and transported to Smithland showcases the ingenuity used to usher in a much-needed structure that will be treasured for generations to come.”
According to KYTC, the new bridge will have a 40-foot wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 8-foot shoulders that will provide extra clearance for most farm equipment to cross without stopping oncoming traffic.
To help with river navigation on the Cumberland River, the new bridge will not have piers in the water during normal river conditions.
Jim Smith Contracting Co., of Grand Rivers, was awarded the $63.6 million contract to replace a neighboring aging bridge, which opened to traffic in 1931.
According to KYTC, the former bridge, known locally as the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial Bridge, will be demolished in August and crews will complete final roadway resurfacing and finishing work by December 2023.
Jim Smith Contracting partnered with American Bridge Co. to assemble and paint the bridge’s 700-foot steel truss at the Paducah Riverport. The truss then floated by barge 14 miles upstream on the Ohio River to the bridge construction site for crews to work on the bridge deck.
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