Runaway dock floating down Kentucky River crashes into Frankfort bridge

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 12:17 PM EST
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Floodwaters have wreaked havoc across the commonwealth, destroying homes and businesses and cutting off entire communities.

River levels are so high and currents so powerful that it knocked a marina loose in Mercer County and carried it down the Kentucky River, where it scraped two bridges in Frankfort before breaking into several pieces.

“I got a call from my associates upriver, my fellow EM guys saying ‘hey we hear there’s a dock coming down out of Mercer County, it’s a pretty good size, couple hundred feet long and 13 or 14 feet high,’” said Tom Russell, emergency management director.

From that point, crews were racing against the current, closing three bridges and moving power lines that the marina could snap.

“We wrenched the lines from both sides of the river and even the inches that we got made all the difference because if we hadn’t done that then that marina probably would have caught it,” said Cathy Lindsey with the Frankfort Plant Board.

Once crews were fully prepared for the worst-case scenario, all that was left to do was hold their breath and wait.

The marina hit at Singing Bridge and broke into several pieces that continued floating downriver.

Check out this video from Thomas Guarnieri (@ThomCat94) on Twitter of the runaway dock hitting a bridge in Frankfort:

“We saw it coming after it went under the Capitol Avenue Bridge. It kind of scraped the top of it there and we knew once it got here it was going to hit,” Lindsey said.

But as bad as it sounded, it was actually one of the best possible outcomes.

It was a sigh of relief for Russell when he says bridge inspectors didn’t find any structural damage, unlike when a similar situation hit in 2010.

“We dodged a bullet this time compared to last time, we had extensive contractor removal of the bridge as water held in there and collected debris and it was a large ordeal to deal with,” Russell said.

This time all that’s left is a piece of the roof stuck on the river bank.

Initial inspections of the bridges show no significant damage. A more in-depth inspection will be done once water levels return to normal.

The Frankfort Plant Board also posted a video of the dock making its way through town:

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