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State reminding public of availability of historic Perry Co. bridge in advance of March 1 application deadline

The March 1 deadline for accepting applications for relocation of the historic Kenmont Bridge in Perry County is near, so the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is again reminding the public of the span’s availability for reuse.

“Inquiries have continued to come in about the bridge since its availability was first advertised late last year,” said Brandon Baker, environmental coordinator with KYTC’s Department of Highways District 10 in Jackson, who is overseeing the relocation effort. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to find someone who can take possession of this bridge and restore it to a suitable use.”

Several public agencies have expressed interest in relocating the bridge, along with some private entities.

Kenmont Bridge (Photo from Kentucky Department of Transportation)

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, KYTC and the Federal Highway Administration are seeking a new owner for the bridge.

A program is in place through FHWA, the 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. 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.

While the bridge can be split into its two separate spans for relocation, officials would prefer that a recipient take both spans together. Preference will be given to applicants who want the entire bridge.

Kenmont Bridge historic marker (Photo from Kentucky Department of Transportation)

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 being 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.

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 brandon.baker2@ky.gov 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.

More information, including downloadable materials, can be found at go.usa.gov.

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 www.bridgingkentucky.com.

From Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

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