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Tebbs Bend Bridge to be replaced soon

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By Calen McKinney

 

It's long been a symbol of history in the Taylor County community. And in a few months, it could be replaced and the old one moved and preserved.

On Tuesday night, officials from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet discussed road and bridge repairs that will be done in the community this fiscal year.

Though its been talked about for many years, residents could see the Tebbs Bend Bridge replaced in just a few months.

Several bridge projects are in the works this year, according to Patty Dunaway, District Four's chief district engineer, who spoke to magistrates Tuesday night during their regular meeting. Taylor County is one of 11 counties that fall within the cabinet's fourth district. The state is divided into 11 districts.

Dunaway said three bridge projects are scheduled this fiscal year, including one on KY 70 over Stoner Creek Road and one on Wise Road over Long Branch Road. The first project is slated for spring and the second for summer.

Tebbs Bend Bridge is on the schedule to be replaced this summer, possibly in July.

As such, Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said magistrates need to decide what will be done with the current bridge.

"The historical society, I think, $65,000 is all that they will allot to move that bridge," he said.

"But there's a lot of stipulations that we have to abide by. If we take it down, we have to put it back up as what it is today. Sixty-five thousand dollars will not do it."

Dunaway said she believes the county can get a good estimate as to what it will cost to replace the bridge from the contractor who will replace it. Magistrates voted to allow Rogers to negotiate that cost with the contractor.

The bridge was also discussed last May. Rogers told magistrates that Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation gave the county permission to move it to the nearby Tebbs Bend-Green River Nature Area.

Local historian Betty Jane Gorin Smith said last year that the old iron bridge was built in 1907 after the original one was burned.

Gorin Smith said the bridge will be moved over a ravine so people can still walk across it. The old plank flooring will be kept, she said, so people can hear the noise created when residents drive over it.

As it is now, she said, buses have to turn around before the bridge and tourists must walk across to reach sites beyond it. She said that might have deterred some from touring the area.

Gorin Smith said the new bridge will resemble the old one as much as possible.

 

Salt Supply

Though they at first said they believed they had enough for the remainder of the winter season, Dunaway told magistrates that officials are now saying road salt is in short supply.

She said officials have been told the state might not be able to get any more salt this season, so this will mean state workers will have to ration what they have.

Dunaway said highly traveled roadways will be salted, though the secondary state roads might not. Officials might have to wait for the sun to melt any snow on those roads, she said.

Rogers said the county is in the same position and road department workers have been told to salt intersections first. Other roads might have to wait, he said.

Dunaway said she wants state and county officials to continue working together to make sure state roadways are kept in good condition.

Magistrate Richard Phillips said some residents might not realize that money for state workers to mow the sides of roadways has been cut.

The money to mow roadways is related to how much is spent on snow and ice removal, Dunaway said. Most state roadways are being mowed only twice during the mowing season, though state officials would like to be told if grass is tall enough to hinder driving.

 

Rural Secondary Improvements

Taylor Countians could see more than $1.2 million in state road improvements this fiscal year.

Dunaway presented the annual Rural Secondary Road Program report for 2014-2015 on Tuesday night, which states that projects totaling about $1.3 million have been recommended in Taylor County. Projects include resurfacing of several roads and routine maintenance of the 116 miles of state roadways.

State officials have recommended that portions of Pitman Valley Road to U.S. 68, KY 70 to Shirley Wooley Road, Badger Road to Taylor/LaRue county line, Jacob's Trail to KY 70 and from the Green/Taylor to the Taylor/Adair county lines be resurfaced this year. The projects are estimated at costing $701,196.

The report also includes the installation of guardrails on Martin Road at a cost of $15,133. Dunaway said guardrail projects are evaluated thoroughly before they are done and state officials typically only have money to do a handful in the state each year.

When adding $528,200 for routine maintenance and a $3,862 county judge/executive fee, the report states that officials have estimated that the state will spend $1,248,391 in Taylor County this fiscal year.

Rural Secondary Road money is funded by 22.2 percent of motor fuel tax receipts. Funds are given to all of Kentucky's 120 counties based on a five-point formula. One-fifth is given equally to all counties. Another fifth is given based on rural population. Another is based on road miles and the final two-fifths is based on the county's land area.

Magistrates approved the report unanimously, which will now go to the Cabinet office in Frankfort for final approval.

Read about more action taken during Tuesday's meeting in Monday's issue.