FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has started construction to replace bridges damaged by floods in eastern Kentucky in July.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced priority will be given to publicly owned structures destroyed or damaged and those that have limited or cut off access for drivers.
Over 170 bridges need to be repaired or replaced in eastern Kentucky. Each bridge serves state and county routes and are among the nearly 1,100 sites inspected by KYTC for damage. In a statement from the governor’s office, approximately 100 of the 170 bridges require full replacement or replacement of a bridge superstructure, which is the area at the top of the bridge.
“Our teams have moved with unprecedented speed to restore access to where these bridges were the only way many of our fellow Kentuckians were able to reach their homes,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are utilizing all the resources at our disposal to restore access. This is a great example of how Team Kentucky is working day and night, not just to clean up, but also to rebuild what was lost. 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.”
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. Lexington-based contractor Jave LLC is working on both projects and expects to have them completed in less than 60 days.
These two bridges are among 33 identified for rapid replacements in Perry, Knott, Pike, Letcher and Floyd counties. All the bridges should be ready for construction by the end of the month and replaced by the end of the current construction season, according to the governor’s office.
KYTC and its partners completed temporary crossings at 19 sites in just over a month since the flooding. This has restored vehicle access to homes cut off from their communities. Temporary crossings are being built or are pending at seven other locations. These temporary crossings are called diversions and typically are made with culvert pipes overlaid with a hard-packed roadbed, allowing drivers to safely cross creeks and streams.
KYTC isn’t just working on rapid replacements. It is working with design consultants to determine the needs and prepare plans for over 60 significantly damaged bridge projects. Department of Highways and contractors are also working to repair damage to roadway approaches, retaining walls and embankments at other bridge sites.
Residents wanting to monitor waterway and roadway debris clean up can look at the newly launched online flood debris removal schedule.
The commonwealth lost at least 39 Kentuckians, and thousands of families lost their homes and nearly all their possessions because of the flooding.