State starts replacing bridges in eastern Kentucky

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2022

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Gov. Andy Beshear says the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has begun a project to replace county and state bridges damaged by the devastating flooding that occurred in eastern Kentucky in late July.

The priority projects include publicly owned crossings that were damaged or destroyed and have significantly limited or eliminated access for drivers.

The cabinet will replace or repair more than 170 bridges in Eastern Kentucky that were damaged by flooding. These are bridges serving state and county routes and are among nearly 1,100 sites assessed for damage by KYTC inspectors after the July flooding. Among the 170 bridges already identified for replacement or repair, approximately 100 require full replacement or replacement of the bridge superstructure, which is the area at the top of the bridge.

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“Our teams have moved with unprecedented speed to restore access where these bridges were the only way many of our fellow Kentuckians were able to reach their homes,” said Gov. Beshear. “The residents need this critical access so they can return to their homes, to their lives and to a sense of normalcy as we rebuild damaged infrastructure throughout Eastern Kentucky.”

Currently, two permanent bridge replacement projects are underway in Perry County. They are Dan Lane over Big Willard Creek and Macintosh Mt. over Little Willard Creek.  Jave LLC, a contractor based in Lexington, is working on the two projects, which are expected to be completed in less than 60 days.

They are among 33 that have been initially targeted for rapid replacements in Perry, Knott, Pike, Letcher and Floyd counties. All the bridges are expected to be ready for construction by the end of this month and replaced by the end of the current construction season.

A team led by Central Bridge Co. and Bizzack Construction also has expedited work on a damaged bridge in Knott County that was already slated for replacement as part of an ongoing design-build project in Eastern Kentucky.

In just over a month since the flooding, KYTC and its partners have completed temporary crossings at 19 sites to restore vehicle access to homes that were cut off from their communities when bridges were damaged or destroyed during the flooding. Construction of temporary crossings is underway or pending at seven additional sites. These temporary crossings typically consist of culvert pipes overlaid with a hardpacked roadbed, allowing drivers to safely cross streams and creeks.