Kenmont Road span to be replaced as part of Bridging Kentucky initiative
JACKSON, Ky. – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is looking for a new Kentucky home for an old Kentucky bridge.
The state plans to replace a nearly century-old bridge at Jeff in Perry County with a modern span as part of the Bridging Kentucky initiative. The existing bridge, carrying Kenmont Road over the North Fork of the Kentucky River, is a two-span pony truss bridge. It was built in 1926 and has been deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is approximately 202 feet long with a 20-foot wide concrete deck.
In order to make room for the new bridge, the old one must be removed. Rather than see this piece of history disappear, the cabinet and the Federal Highway Administration are seeking a new owner for the bridge.
A program is in place through the Federal Highway Administration, Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office, and KYTC 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, KYTC and FHWA will pay the costs of marking parts of the bridge, disassembling it, transporting it to the new site, and off-loading it, providing those costs do not exceed costs for demolition. One or both of the spans of the two-span bridge may be relocated to a new site. 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.
Possible uses for the bridge include use on a walking or bicycling trail in a city or county park, a stream crossing for a cart path at a golf course, or installed by a property owner as a unique stream crossing for a private driveway.
Bridges previously offered for relocation in District 10 have generated national and global interest, but no takers were eventually found, and the bridges were demolished. The Kenmont Bridge is smaller than those previously advertised, so it might be a more suitable candidate for the program.
“The district has done these relocation offers in the past, and received national and international press coverage, with inquiries from all across the United States and from as far away as Great Britain,” said Brandon Baker, environmental coordinator for the Department of Highways District 10 in Jackson, who oversees the bridge relocation program for the district. “The costs for moving a bridge in this manner would tend to limit participation to in or near Kentucky,” Baker said, “but we welcome inquiries from anyone who might be interested in giving this bridge a new lease on life.”
“When word spread of one of our previous bridge relocation offers, we got calls from media outlets far and near,” said H.B. Elkins, District 10’s public information officer. “Reuters called, along with several other national news agencies. SiriusXM Radio featured us on their Road Dog Trucking channel. The story got picked up from coast to coast, and it generated a lot of interest.. It put a positive international spotlight on our region. People were genuinely curious about the state giving away a bridge.”
“This program provides an opportunity for local governments or individuals to take part in historical preservation,” Baker said. “All proposals will be seriously considered.”
Eligible recipients can request additional information from Baker at the District 10 office located at 473 Highway 15 South, Jackson, by writing him at P.O. Box 621, Jackson, KY 41339, by emailing him at email@example.com, or by calling him at (606) 693-5444. Letters of interest and written proposals for relocation of the bridge will be accepted until March 1, 2021.
Bridging Kentucky is a program to improve the safety and soundness of the Commonwealth’s bridges by rehabilitating, repairing, or replacing critical bridges throughout the state. More information on Bridging Kentucky is available at http://www.bridgingkentucky.com.