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Bridge Is Damaged Beyond Repair

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

An inspection of an eastern Kentucky bridge finds damage that can't be repaired.

The damage is so bad that transportation officials say the Floyd County bridge will have to be replaced or rebuilt.

The bridge is in Drift and some people who live there say closing the bridge isn't much safer.

It's a fight between safety and convenience.

Bridge inspectors say the bridge can collapse and kill someone, but nearby residents are upset it's closed and say they need the bridge to get to town.

Engineers believe too much weight over the years broke the Highway 1101 bridge's center beam,

State inspectors believe the rest of the 30 year old bridge could collapse at any moment.

“That beam already failed. Although it is still in the bridge, if a car goes across it and puts a wheel on it, it could fall with the car,” Sam Hale said.

The bridge is shut down.

“It's the only way we have besides the old dirt road,” Amy Jervis said.

Despite safety concerns, nearby residents want their bridge back.

“It puts kind of a hardship on you trying to get to and from the markets and the post office. It's really making it rough on us,” Teddy Shannon said.

There is a two mile detour, but residents say the road is too narrow for all the traffic and dangerous with the coal trucks.

“The other road is very unsafe and there have been several car accidents just the past couple of months,” Jervis said.

Inspectors say they can't risk something worse by opening the bridge.

Engineers don't think they can fix it.

Which means the bridge could be closed for a year.

Transportation officials say the bridge is already in the state's six year plan for replacement, so the money for re-building is there and they shouldn't have any problems building a new one quickly.


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