MADISONVILLE, KY (Monday, Sept. 30, 2013)— A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has completed construction of a new bridge on KY 874 near the Lisman community south of Dixon in Webster County.
The new bridge over Fredericks Ditch opened Thursday, September 19, restoring normal traffic flow on KY 874 between KY 279 and KY 1340. The contractor has some minor guardrail adjustments and other finish work to complete for the project to be finalized.
KYTC District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn said he is pleased efforts to expedite the bridge replacement project were successful.
“This new bridge was not part of the state road plan. That can make finding funding sources very difficult,” McClearn said. “The Cabinet was able to identify some bridge replacement funding that kept this project moving through design and engineering phases, then on into construction.”
KY 874 had been closed at the site since June 2012, after four pilings on the bridge were crushed causing it to drop about 6 inches. Transportation officials believe the incident was caused by an overweight vehicle crossing the structure. The old bridge had been restricted to a 20-ton load limit prior to the incident.
McClearn said the incident, and the resulting effort to replace the bridge, illustrates some of the problems the agency faces with bridge load limit enforcement on rural highways.
“Trucks and other heavy vehicles are required to obey the bridge load limit posted at the end of each bridge,” McClearn observed. “All it takes is one vehicle exceeding that load limit to damage a bridge and create an extended transportation issue for a community. We need the public’s help to watch for trucks and other vehicles that exceed bridge load limits.”
McClearn noted that anyone who spots trucks violating bridge load limits should call their local 911 emergency call center or Kentucky State Police.
“Our bridge inspectors work to assure the safety of all of our bridges. However, without the help of the public we are somewhat limited in our ability to enforce load limits, particularly along our rural secondary highways and on county roads.”
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is responsible for inspecting more than 14,000 bridges in the state. KYTC District 2 is responsible for more than 2,000 bridges on city, county, and state roads in 11 counties.