Truss flotilla departed new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Ky. (KBSI) – The flotilla that transported and placed a 700 ft. truss on the New U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland has moved away from the construction site.

Two of the four jacking towers have been removed.

The departure of the flotilla now allows commercial towboat traffic and pleasure boat traffic to resume on the lower Cumberland River at navigation mile point 2.7, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

An American Bridge Company crew completed the removal of two of the four jacking towers that lifted the 5.1 million pound truss into place about 90 ft. above the river, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Lowering of towers on the upstream side of the new truss allowed the flotilla to move away from the construction site around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The completed work also allowed a lane restriction to be removed from the existing U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland. This returns traffic to normal flow at the north edge of Smithland.

The truss will have to sit atop the piers for about a month before Jim Smith Contracting (JSC) can start placing a concrete deck on the structure. That work is expected to take about six months. It would allow traffic to be moved to the new bridge in late spring of 2023.

Moving the truss to the new bridge was a cooperative effort by Jim Smith Contracting, the prime contractor, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, American Bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard and numerous agencies from a five-county area.

This is a $63.8 million project.

Hundreds of high school students and area residents watched the truss being hoisted 90 feet into the air, moved over the waiting concrete piers, and lowered into place on Wednesday.

The truss will have to sit atop the piers for about a month before Jim Smith Contracting can start placing a concrete deck on the structure. That work is expected to take about six months. That will allow traffic to be moved to the new bridge in late spring of 2023.

American Bridge assembled the 700-foot blue steel structure on 4-jumbo barges at the Paducah Riverport, then transported it upstream to the construction site.

Project Schedule

October-November 2022
Prep and start deck concrete pour on main span

April-May 2023
U.S. 60 highway connections final tie-in
Traffic moved to new bridge
Demolition of the old bridge

June-August 2023
Final roadway driving surface and finish work
Target completion date for all work is Dec. 1, 2023

The new bridge will have a 40-foot-wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 8-foot shoulders that will allow clearance for most farm equipment to cross without stopping oncoming traffic.

To aid river navigation on the Cumberland River, the new bridge will have no piers in the water during normal river conditions.

The new bridge will improve a significant cross-country link for U.S. 60 through western Kentucky and a critical connection for local Livingston County traffic. The Cumberland River splits the county, and the bridge is the only direct link for local commuters, commerce, school buses, and emergency responders.

The movement was stopped Tuesday evening after a power unit for one of the lifting towers failed.

Engineers came up with a work-around to allow the lift to continue. However, when a second power unit had to be taken out of service the lift had to be halted for the evening at about 6:20 p.m. on Tuesday.

Replacement power units arrived at the construction site Wednesday.

The American Bridge crew took a short break before starting to remove the jacking towers that lifted it into place. Once the towers are removed, the flotilla will be able to move away from the bridge.

Jim Smith Contracting, the prime contractor on the $63.8 million project, will start the installation of a concrete deck on the truss in a month or two. The deck is expected to take about six months to complete. That should put the new bridge ready for traffic in March, April, or May of 2023.

A lane restriction on the existing U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland will remain in place until the truss is placed on the new bridge. Motorists should be prepared for one lane traffic with alternating flow controlled by an automated signal. Delays are likely during peak travel periods.

The truss was lifted 87 feet to allow it to be placed on the main piers.

Four jumbo barges floated a massive steel truss into position for a new U.S. 60 bridge over the Cumberland River at Smithland.

American Bridge assembled the 700-foot blue steel structure on barges at the Paducah Riverport.

It floated 14 miles upstream on the Ohio River to the construction site near the mouth of the Cumberland River in Livingston County, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The cabinet set a tentative schedule of mid-September for the operation, with everything subject to weather and river conditions.

Jim Smith Contracting expects it will take six to eight months to complete the deck on the main span to prepare it for traffic in late spring of 2023. The new bridge is immediately downstream from the existing bridge, which opened to traffic in 1931.

The new bridge has a truss design similar to the U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter. It will have a 40-foot-wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 8-foot shoulders that will provide ample clearance for most farm equipment to cross without stopping oncoming traffic.

The new bridge will have no piers in the water during normal river conditions to aid river navigation.

The Cumberland River splits Livingston County. The bridge is the only direct link for local commuters, commerce, school buses, and emergency responders.

The contractor and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers have established an updated work schedule for the project.

September 2022
Main truss float-in on Span 4

October-November 2022
Start deck construction on main span

April-May 2023
U.S. 60 highway connections tie-in
Traffic moved to new bridge
Demolition of old bridge

June-August 2023
Final roadway surfacing and finish work
Target completion date Dec. 1, 2023

The multiple agencies that are involved in supporting the movement and placement of this truss will put in hundreds of hours in coming weeks to assure that everything goes as planned, according to KYTC.

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