Historic bridge for sale in Perry County

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Transportation officials hope they can find a new owner for a historic bridge that will be replaced in Perry County.

“We always called it the old blue bridge,” recalls 25-year-old Josh Pennington, who grew up blocks away from the structure on Combs Road, more commonly known as “Old 80.”

The Combs Bridge has been around since 1929 and those who live around it said it is just part of the neighborhood.

“The bridge has been there ever since I can remember,” said Dr. Lynn Pennington, whose office is located only a few hundred feet away.
“When I was a child we used to drive around there when we got our driver's license, we would go over to big creek that way.”

His son fondly reminisces traveling to friends’ houses before he was old enough to drive across.

“We rode bicycles sometimes,” said Pennington.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet wants to sell the bridge to preserve the structure.

“They have to pay to re erect the bridge and maintain it, we pay for marking it disassembling it and transporting it to the new site then, they have to pay for all the expenses for putting it back together,” said H.B. Elkins, an Information Officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The bridge is eligible for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Elkins said it is not just the age, but the shape of the bridge that sets it apart from several others.

“The age and the design of the bridge that makes it qualify,” said Elkins.
“You don't see a lot of infrastructure that old that remains anymore... you don't see a lot of those steel trust bridges of that type around anymore.

The Penningtons said that they would like to keep it close to home.

“You need to keep as much history as you can especially in this community hopefully keep it in Kentucky or eastern Kentucky instead of moving it someplace else,” said J. Pennington.

Those who have lived around it said that they want to keep it intact whether it is here or another place.

“As long as it is preserved and not too far of a distance from here I would be happy about that,” said Dr. Pennington.

Pennington said he could imagine a new park being made in honor of the bridge. Anyone interested should call Jeff Allen, the Environmental Coordinator for the Department of Highways District 10 in Breathitt County at 606-666-8841. The sale will continue until Dec. 20.

Elkins said he does not know whether or not the bridge will be demolished if a buyer does not come forward.

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