I am not ungrateful for any truss even a modern truss bridge because at least it provides a superior crossing experience when compared to a UCEB. However, I would much rather see departments of transportation spend money restoring and maintaining true historic bridges instead of spending extra money to construct a truss bridge when a different type of bridge would be more cost effective. Modern truss bridges tend to be extremely plain. I will be putting an essay associated with two bridges I have recently photographed comparing the two on this site shortly.
The construction of new bridge is going along, at least this one won't be an UCEB from the pictures already posted.
The bridge now has a 3 ton weight limit. Source: http://www.westkentuckystar.com/News/Local---Regional/Western-Kentucky/Traffic-Monitors-Now-in-Place-on-Ledbetter-Bridge
In the Paducah paper today, it said that the construction on the new bridge has been delayed by the major flooding in the area.
If anyone wondered whether the replacement would be ugly or not, the completed piers should help give a hint. I think they had a contest to design the ugliest piers. Photo from KYTC
The I-526 bridge isn't altogether ugly. It's strange and curious, but it has a certain noséloque about it. The absence of verticals and laterals, a bridge made up of chords and diagonals only. I'll be sure to photograph the current bridge in great detail before its demise.
Matt, you're right. It won't be pretty. But the bridge (for the amount of traffic it carries a day) is failing. They need a new bridge up there. But I totally agree, it'll be pretty ugly. :/
Wow--the I-526 Cooper River Bridge is just about the ugliest truss bridge I have ever seen in my life--modern continuous truss bridges are just plain painful to look at. At least if it were a cantilevered bridge, it would have some shape to it, but this thing is like a naked box. Yuk!! Another beautiful historic truss falls to an ugly modern truss.
Main piers for a new bridge have been constructed just upstream from the existing bridge. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is planning to accept bids for the superstructure and remaining piers in the next few months. The superstructure will be similar to the I-526 Cooper River Bridge at Charleston, SC. I can provide photos of that bridge and renderings of the design of the new US 60 Tennessee River Bridge on request. Construction of the new bridge will take 3 to 4 years.
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KYTC District 1
They're currently in the process of building a new bridge a couple miles down the river. So far, they've built the piers, but I'm not sure on the spans yet. I've heard rumors that it'll be a modern cantilevered bridge, and it should be open in 2012.
I believe this bridge is scheduled for or in the process of being replaced. Reading some Kentucky news and road info there are articles on this taking place. Also I may have read that the new bridge could possibly be a modern through truss. I could be wrong if it turns out to be a boring plane girder bridge.