“Well, they was very happy to see the contractor moved in. They’re working with us and don’t have a problem with us constructing temporary crossing through their bottom, they’re just happy we’re here doing this,” said Houston Allen, a highway technician.
It has now been three weeks into repairing this bridge off Edward Drive in Knott County. Only a handful of residents live on the other side.
“They had no vehicle access and some people were trapped. So that is why this was a high priority to get them access,” said bridge inspector Chris Allen.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet did not waste time.
“The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the designers, the consultants, has worked as a team to get this expedited and speed this process up and get this under construction. The fastest I’ve seen it since I’ve been with the cabinet,” said Houston.
The old bridge’s structural integrity was worn down and destroyed beyond repair by the flood.
The transportation cabinet completely destroyed it and put this temporary crossing in the new bridge going up will be designed the same way as other Kentucky bridges.
“The old bridge there had like a 5-ton weight limit on it, and the new on that’s going to be constructed will not have a weight limit. It could easily haul 80,000 pounds that the roadways are designed to handle,” Houston said.
With winter quickly approaching, KYTC said they need to focus right now on “temporary solutions” and make sure these residents get in and out of their homes safely for the time being. Their focus would usually be on the bigger picture but that scope of work includes over 100 bridges and years of repairs.
Many bridges in the flood-impacted counties are still under design.