The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Archive for January 26th, 2012

LBL’s Eggner’s Ferry Bridge Collapse Updates

with 5 comments

Last Update: 3:45 p.m. Saturday, February 4, 2012 – Removed Outdated Info

Housing Option for MSU Commuter Students Affected by Bridge Damage

from Murray State University press release

Current Murray State University students with a longer and more expensive commute to classes on campus due to the damage to Eggner’s Ferry Bridge now have another option. MSU’s department of housing and residence life has announced that housing spaces on campus are available to rent for the remainder of the semester at a prorated cost. Anyone interested in more information on this opportunity should contact the housing office at (270) 809-2310 or toll free at 1 (877) 551-7774.

Ky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman on Restoring Eggner’s Ferry Bridge

(Shelly Baskin 2012-02-03)

On Thursday, January 26th, the cargo ship Delta Mariner struck an eastern span of the US 68/KY 80 Eggner’s Ferry bridge that crosses Kentucky Lake and the Tennessee River. U.S. Coast Guard officials say the ship was in a shallower recreational channel outside the regular, deeper, shipping lane when it hit the bridge. Luckily, no lives were lost and no injuries were reported. The wider impact has been significant, however, affecting over-the-road transport, personal travel, and even the businesses that rely on the traffic that comes by on Highway 68/80. Officials say they’re working to restore the crossing, but first they have to look at the bridge’s structure before determining the way forward. Shelly Baskin speaks with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd for some perspective on the process.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Foss Maritime Bridge Update

from press release

The U.S. Coast Guard has approved the plan submitted by Foss Maritime to conduct salvage operations at the Eggner Ferry Bridge. Foss will spend the rest of today on safety briefings for the crew and salvage team, and on safety inspections of equipment. Foss expects to begin operations on Saturday.  The first step once salvage begins is to cut the sections of the bridge at the waterline to free the ship from the subsurface debris. Then the salvage team will work up the side of the ship removing other pieces of the bridge. One piece at a time will be removed. The operation will be done slowly and carefully to assure the safety of the workers and to avoid having any pieces damage the ship. When the ship is free of the underwater debris, it will be moved out of the channel to a protected area where the debris above the waterline will be removed. When all the debris is removed, the ship will be moved to a facility for any needed repairs. At the same time, remaining debris under water will also be removed. No decision has been made on where the debris will be taken.No decision will be made on the location for the ship repair until the debris is removed and the ship is inspected again. Foss Maritime is working in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to safely and efficiently conduct salvage operations. There is no estimate of the amount of time each step will take. Our primary focus is to assure the safety of the public and the responders throughout the operation.T&T Bisso is the Foss contractor overseeing the salvage operation.

LBL Info

LBL reminds the public all other LBL facilities normally open at this time are operating as normal, except Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area and Trails due to saturated soil conditions. Please visit http://www.lbl.org for outdoor recreation, program information, spring Calendar of Events, and any Alerts & Notices. Land Between The Lakes is managed by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide outdoor recreation and environmental education for the public to enjoy. Additional information is available on LBL’s official website at http://www.lbl.org, or by calling 1-800-LBL-7077 or 270-924-2000.

Bridge Detour Routes

With the collapse of the US68/KY80 Eggner’s Ferry Bridge spanning Kentucky Lake, the only way around is either north at the I-24 crossing, or south in Tennessee at the Hwy 79 crossing. Western Kentucky residents heading east who live closer to the Tennessee border would be served best heading down to Hwy 79 either on Hwy 121 south or US 641, then taking 79 east towards Clarksville intersecting with I-24. Those who are north of Mayfield or Benton would need to head north on the Purchase Parkway intersecting with I-24 there.

The Kentucky State Police request that motorist who normally travel westbound on US 68 through the Land between the Lakes to please avoid LBL and KY 453 or The Trace as well as US 68.


About the Bridge

The two-lane bridge – formally the Eggners Ferry Bridge – opened to traffic in 1932. Its elevation was raised in 1943 when the Tennessee River was impounded to create Kentucky Lake. A KYTC traffic count conducted in 2009 showed 2,650 vehicles per day crossed the bridge. The Transportation Cabinet is in the process of replacing the bridge, along with the nearby bridge over Lake Barkley on the eastern side of Land Between the Lakes. Pre-construction work, including geo-technical drilling, began months ago. Gov. Steve Beshear’s recommended highway plan, which he sent to the General Assembly on Jan. 17, contains $165 million in construction funding for a new Kentucky Lake bridge from 2013 through 2015.

About the Delta Mariner

According to the Foss Maritime Company website, the Delta Mariner is a 312-foot long and 8,000 horsepower supply ship that transports space-bound hardware, including common booster cores, for the Boeing Delta IV rocket program. It’s designed to navigate shallow inland waterways and the open ocean. The ship hauls rocket components 550 miles from the Boeing factory in Decatur, Alabama, down the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, through the Panama Canal, arriving at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to a press release by the Foss Maritime Company, the ship has not been involved in any serious incidents similar to this one in the past. The Delta Mariner carries a crew of 16 individuals.

Statement from United Launch Alliance:
“The 312-foot vessel was carrying a United Launch Alliance Atlas booster and Centaur upper stage for the Air Force’s AEHF-2 mission scheduled to launch in April and an interstage adapter for NASA’s RBSP mission scheduled to launch in August. There is no schedule impact to either launch date expected at this point.The Mariner cargo area of the ship and the flight hardware did not experience any damage. The hardware is well instrumented and all data from these instruments is being reviewed to confirm that there were no issues.The Delta Mariner was commissioned in 2002 to transport flight hardware from the United Launch Alliance factory in Decatur, Ala., to launch sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.”

See photos of the Delta Mariner on Flickr.

Gov. Beshear Directs Immediate Development of Options:

Governor Steve Beshear today announced the immediate review of options for restoring the US 68/KY 80 bridge over Kentucky Lake after a large vessel struck the span last night and destroyed a main truss. Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock will visit the bridge today and talk with local officials about the investigation, alternate routing, and impact on nearby communities. “We are grateful that this wreck caused no injuries or loss of life. Since that bridge carries 2,800 cars every day, we were very fortunate that no one was on the span at that time,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ll turn our attention to a full inspection of the bridge and determine what steps we can take next to speed up the replacement of that important artery.” Lt. Gov. Abramson and Secretary Hancock will be visiting the command center near site of bridge accident and collapse today, to discuss investigation and future options for bridge.

Leaders Respond:

Sen. Bob Leeper, of Paducah: “I appreciate the quick response by the Governor and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to help this situation in western Kentucky. I look forward to working with them to explore all the available possibilities for a solution for the transportation needs of this area.”

Sen. Ken Winters, of Murray: “I encourage our citizens to remain calm and patient as our state transportation officials investigate the structure and determine next steps. I thank the Governor and Transportation Secretary for their immediate attention to this matter, and I hope that they will fully explore many alternatives, even temporary bridges, to best serve the people of western Kentucky.”

Rep. Will Coursey, of Symsonia: “I think Governor Beshear’s plan for an immediate review of our available options is an excellent first step in getting this bridge back open. I have been working with House leaders to see what more we can do while we are in legislative session, and want the people to know that the General Assembly stands ready to act.”

Sec. Hancock: “At this moment, we’re assessing the situation to see whether repair is feasible. We also will be exploring whether construction of the new bridge can be accelerated.”

Lt. Gov. Abramson: “We had already committed in our new six-year highway plan to replace this bridge, because we know what an important route it is for our citizens in western Kentucky. We will shift our focus to determining how to restore that route as quickly and safely as we can.”

Governor Steve Beshear:  “We are grateful that this wreck caused no injuries or loss of life. Since that bridge carries 2,800 cars every day, we were very fortunate that no one was on the span at that time. We’ll turn our attention to a full inspection of the bridge and determine what steps we can take next to speed up the replacement of that important artery.”

U.S. Senator Rand Paul: “I am relieved that it appears no one was hurt in the accident. I have used the bridge many times and know how big of an inconvenience it will be for people to take the long way around the lakes. I will visit the bridge today to meet with local officials and find out what happened and what must happen to get the road reopened, and I will do what I can to help with this situation.” Senator Paul visited the site Friday to speak with media.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell: “I am thankful that reports indicate no one was injured in last night’s cargo ship accident at Eggner Ferry Bridge.  My office remains in contact with state officials and I have sent a staff member to the scene to update me. I will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield: “I join my fellow Kentuckians in giving thanks that there were no injuries or loss of life from this terrible accident. I will continue to monitor the situation and work to ensure all Federal agencies with jurisdiction remain on top of this incident so that this vital roadway is restored as soon as possible.” Congressman Whitfield visited the site Friday to speak with media.

Advertisements

Tracy’s Racer Roundup 1-26-12

leave a comment »

Here’s what’s being written about the undefeated Murray State University Racer basketball team:

sportsradiointerviews.com posted a nice interview with Steve Prohm:

“Our league doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Morehead State finished second in our league last year. We won the regular season. Our second-place team moved on to the second round of the NCAA tournament. And then two years ago, we went to the second round. Two out of the last three years, we had an NBA draft pick in our league.”

— Racer head coach Steve Prohm

ology.com wonders if an undefeated Racer squad could be rewarded with a coveted 1 seed in the Big Dance.

The Murray State Racers are turning themselves into one of the most exciting and confounding storylines of the college basketball season. At 20-0, Murray State has a great shot at becoming the first college hoops team to go undefeated in the regular season since UNLV did it in 1990-1991, before losing to Duke in the Final Four.

In case you missed it, the New York Times wrote a great in-depth article about the Racer’s magical season and its effect on the community.

There are close to 18,000 people in Murray, according to the 2010 census, and it seems that almost all of them have an opinion on the Racers. (“There are a lot of coaches in this town,” Prohm said.) They pack the 8,700 seats in CFSB Center on game nights, giving the Racers a distinct home-court advantage.

Written by Tracy Ross

January 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Datebook: January 26 – Bessie Coleman Turns 120

leave a comment »

Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman was born on January 26, 1892 (and died April 30, 1926). She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African American descent to hold an international pilot license. Inspired by tales of WWI fighter pilots, she dreamed of taking to the skies. Being African American and a woman, she was refused admittance in American flight schools, so she learned French and went to Paris, since women were already pilots there. On June 15, 1921, Coleman became the first African American woman in the world to earn an aviation pilot’s license. She realized a career in exhibition flying and became a media sensation as “Queen Bess” when she returned to the U.S. She was called “the world’s greatest woman flier” and performed daredevil maneuvers to massive crowds over New York and Chicago. At a show in Jacksonville, Florida, while attempting to pull out of a dive, the aircraft got stuck plummeting to the ground. She was thrown from her seat 500 feet above and died on impact. It was later found that a wrench had gotten stuck in the gearbox.

It’s Thursday, January 26

Dr. Matthew Gianforte, pianist and assistant professor at Murray State, presents a recital titled “Musical Tributes” tonight at 7:30 in the Performing Arts Hall of the Doyle Fine Arts Building. The free concert features works by Robert Schumann, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt.

A screening of the documentary American Teacher takes place tomorrow at 11AM in the Alexander Hall auditorium on the campus of Murray State. The documentary chronicles the stories of four teachers as they reach different milestones in their careers, offering a deeper look at the teaching profession in America today. The screening is free and open to the community.

The Paducah Symphony Orchestra’s second annual “Made in America” concert takes place on Saturday at 4PM at Harrison Street Baptist Church in Paducah. Hear African American spirituals, art music, and hymns. Admission is $10 for adults and free for students. Purchase tickets from the PSO office at 444-0065.

Find more community events online at wkms.org.

Written by Matt Markgraf

January 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

the morning cram [you don’t know the power of the dark side edition]

leave a comment »

Apparently, Starbucks makes a lot of coffee…and a lot of money.

NPR reports the coffee chain known for it’s iconic dark roast has got it’s ‘mojo workin’ under the leadership of CEO Howard Schultz.

Kentucky~ Alleged embezzlers have a day in court. Soldiers return to a hero’s welcome. Hey, I think that buggy covered in highly reflective tape might have Amish people in it. “Caylee’s Law” requires you to tell somebody if you lose your kid. Romney and Gingrich want Kentucky.

Tennessee~ Hate crime victim’s dad is disturbed by ‘don’t say gay’.