HENDERSON, Ky. -- The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) advertised a Hancock County bridge for adoption last fall and received proposals from seven entities by the December 1 deadline. The historic Pratt pony truss style bridge was constructed around 1919. It is believed to have served as an early regional route for what is now U.S. 60. Although there were several great proposals, the Sandy Lee Watkins Park in Henderson County was the best fit for the historic bridge.
The park has been actively seeking historic bridges to pass over drainage ways within the park to complete their walking trails. They have already been able to procure two historic bow string bridges from northern Kentucky. The Blackford Creek bridge was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places by the Kentucky State Historic Preservation Officer in 2011. The historic designation underscored the perfect match between the park and the bridge.
KYTC District 2 Chief Engineer Deneatra Henderson is excited about the new purpose and location for the bridge. “It has a lot of character. While it is functionally obsolete, the bridge will make a great addition to the park and serve as a vital link for their 5K road race loop.”
KYTC District 2 Environmental Coordinator Pamela Broadston says the agency was seeking to locate a city, county or state government agency; historic preservation organization; or other approved individual or entity interested in having the bridge moved to a new site in Kentucky for preservation and reuse. Broadston said. “We were optimistic that someone, somewhere in Kentucky would find a place for this historic bridge to take on a new life. We were asking that the bridge be put to a use consistent with its historic character. Sandy Lee Watkins Park was determined to be most suitable and the bridge may still be eligible for designation.”
The Federal Highway Association (FHWA) and KYTC will pay all expenses associated with match marking, disassembly, transportation to the new site, and off-loading of the bridge. The new owner is responsible for all costs associated with site preparation and re-assembly of the bridge. Any additional costs the project might bear will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
In 2020, KYTC plans to initiate construction of a new bridge at the original Blackford Creek site.