Here in Louisville, we’ve been trying to find the money to build a new bridge for decades; and now it appears that the state government has one they’re trying to get rid of. Are you looking for a bridge? Have we got a deal for you!
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet isn’t looking to sell someone the Brooklyn Bridge, but it is looking to give away a historic bridge in Perry County. Beginning next year, the state plans to replace an aging bridge carrying KY 80 over the North Fork of the Kentucky River near Combs with a modern bridge. The existing bridge, a three-span steel Parker truss bridge, was built in 1929 and has been determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is approximately 450 feet long and consists of three 150-foot spans.
In order to make room for the new bridge, the old one must be demolished. Rather than see this piece of history disappear, the cabinet and the Federal Highway Administration are seeking a new owner for the bridge.
Jeff Allen, environmental coordinator for the Department of Highways District 10, which includes Perry County, said that a program is in place to allow government agencies, historic preservation organizations or individuals to re-erect the bridge if its original characteristics are retained at the new site. Historic organizations and individuals must be approved by the state historic preservation officer to be eligible for the program.
Under the program, the Transportation Cabinet and the Federal Highway Administration will pay the costs of marking parts of the bridge, disassembling it, transporting it to the new site, and off-loading it. The recipient is responsible for all other costs, including site preparation, reassembly, replacement of parts suitable for the proposed use at the new location and construction of approaches. The recipient also becomes responsible for maintenance, liability and permits associated with the bridge.
“This program is a great way for local governments or individuals to take part in historical preservation,” Allen said. “For example, this bridge could become part of a walking or bicycling trail in a city or county park. Or an individual landowner might want a unique stream crossing for his or her private driveway. There are all sorts of possibilities for the relocation of this bridge.”
Any eligible recipients can request additional information from Allen at the District 10 office located at 473 Highway 15 South, Jackson, or by calling (606) 666-8841. Letters of interest and written proposals for relocation of the bridge will be accepted until Dec. 20 by Allen at the Jackson office.