Old (left) and new spans across the Cumberland River at Smithland, Ky. (Photo courtesy of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)

Explosive Demolition Of Old Smithland Bridge Delayed

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Jim Smith Contracting and a demolition subcontractor have moved the explosive demolition of the Old U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland, Ky., to November 29 or 30.

A final date will be determined in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, with weather conditions being a final factor. That decision is expected to be made November 22.

Commercial towboat and pleasure boat traffic will be halted for about 24 hours on the Cumberland River.  There will be a 1,500-foot clear zone around the blast site that will be strictly enforced, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The bridge is located at Cumberland River Mile 2.7.

The demolition date was previously postponed due to a delay in the arrival of a crane that will be used to retrieve parts of the bridge’s truss from the river following the demolition.

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As the demolition date approaches, a subcontractor will cut key locations on the main truss before placing explosives on the structure.  The explosives crew plans to take down the truss and approach spans at the same time.

While times could change, the explosive demolition of the old bridge will require the new bridge to be closed from approximately 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the day of the blast.   

Plans include an observation area for the public on the day of the blast.

Once the initial blast has taken down the main truss and approach spans, two additional blasts will be scheduled at about two-week intervals to take down the concrete piers and demolish concrete abutments.

The new U.S. 60 Cumberland River bridge at Smithland, also known as the Jim R. Smith Memorial Bridge, opened to traffic on May 15. The 1,912-foot structure with a 700-foot main truss and 40-foot-wide deck was constructed by Jim Smith Contracting of Grand Rivers. The main truss was assembled and painted at the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority and floated by barge via the Tennessee, Ohio and Cumberland rivers to Smithland for final installation.