Contractor wins approval for alternate demolition plan for Old Ledbetter Bridge piers

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PADUCAH, Kentucky — An alternate demolition plan for the remaining piers at the site of a bridge in western Kentucky that was demolished this year has been approved.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the contractor had planned to drill the remaining in-water piers of the Old Ledbetter Bridge between Livingston and McCracken counties, place explosives and bring them down with controlled detonation. But cracks were left in the piers, raising safety questions about drilling.

The last truss section over the Tennessee River main navigation channel was detonated Oct. 1, and the blast rocked the piers holding it up.

District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor says now the contractor plans to excavate the river bottom outside the navigation channel and knock over the top half of the piers so they will fall into the excavated areas. Natural silting will cover them, leaving them below the river bottom.

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