The Natcher Bridge was a project noted for endurance as much as
technical achievement. The project was proposed many times, and
was once planned to be completed in 1996. Once construction started,
the concrete piers were finished in 1995, but construction of the
bridge itself did not being until 1998. Once started, it should have
taken about 2 years, but that stretched out until 2002 as the
contractor was delayed due to weather, and then some unexpected
complexity in assembling the cables attachments. At the same time,
the construction could have taken an additional year, but the curing
of the concrete was sped up by trucking in ice, and circulating chilled
river water through the structure.
The Natcher Bridge is part of a larger highway project to build a
4-lane US-231, and to bypass Owensboro. Once this highway project
is complete, traffic levels on the bridge should increase significantly.
The bridge is named after William H. Natcher, a long time congressman
from Kentucky. Natcher passed away in 1994 after serving 40 years
in the House. He is famous for never having missed a roll call vote,
amassing a record of 18,401 consecutive votes.