11:25am

Tue November 22, 2011
Mountain Kentucky

It's Replacement Time for Eastern Kentucky Bridge

It's old, charming and blue and has spanned the North Fork of the Kentucky River for generations, providing the only transportation link for residents of Quicksand, and for those who work there. But the state Transportation Cabinet says it's time for a new, wider and stronger bridge to replace the current one-lane span, and they want public input next Tuesday night on what to do next.

That public informational meeting in which area residents can discuss a project to replace the present bridge – also known as “The Big Blue Bridge” - with a more modern bridge leading from the intersection of Routes 15, 1111 and 1812 into the Quicksand community will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 5 - 7 p.m. at the Quicksand Community Center, going up the hill on the curve at Back Street. Organizers with the District 10 Highway Office in Jackson say the meeting will have an “open house” format, with no formal presentation.

Representatives from the District 10 Office and project consultants will be available at the meeting, to provide information and answer questions about the planned project. 

Among the information available will be handouts describing the purpose and need for the bridge project, as well as the process of acquiring the right-of-way, and potential concerns about relocating utilities in the project's path.

Officials at the Jackson state Highway Office say the current bridge is old, deteriorating, and needs to be replaced with a modern, wider structure to improve reliability and safety. They add that the existing bridge carries a reduced weight limit of three tons.

The current one-lane bridge connects with land owned by the University of Kentucky, which houses UK's Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability, Robinson Station, Robinson Forest, the Robinson Scholars Program and the Wood Utilization Center. Because it links the UK property, the bridge was nicknamed “The Big Blue Bridge.”