Creeks one-lane bridge
to face wrecking ball for progress
to begin soon on ill-fated span
Helen E. McKinney
(January 2008) Since 1910, the one-lane bridge
spanning Harrods Creek on River Road has supported daily traffic
in and out of Prospect, Ky. Many in the community say that plans to
widen it will destroy its historic character, while others debate its
safety for motorists.
Plans call for replacing the one-lane bridge and widening
it to two lanes, said Chris Phillips, Engineering Supervisor for the
Louisville Metro Public Works and Assets Department. This project has
been budgeted for $2 million. Design for the new bridge began
in 2000, said Phillips.
There is no definite timetable for this project. Construction may last
one year and may begin in 2008, Phillips said. Officials believe that
extending the bridge from 16 feet to 28 feet will create a smoother
The new bridge and approaches will improve the safety for those
traveling along River Road at this location, said Phillips. The
project will reduce the potential for head-on collisions that are inherent
to one-lane bridges with two way traffic.
As of now, when motorists approach the bridge, they are forced to consider
other drivers. They must slow down, one giving the other driver the
right-of-way to avoid a collision.
To Rob Prince, proprietor of Prospect Jewelers, its not
a big issue that its a one-lane bridge. It slows traffic, but
thats not a bad thing.
Prince said he would hate to lose the quaintness of the drive
through that area, but he believes that whats going
to happen is going to happen. State and county officials know
it needs to be replaced or repaired, and now it has reached a point
of questionable safety, said Prince.
Construction may close the bridge for nine to 12 months. Princes
concern lies more in the effect this will have on the traffic pattern
through the area. Traffic will be deflected onto U.S. 42, and my
concern is that in whatever they choose to do, I hope they dont
work on the bridge and do the U.S. 42 modification at the same time.
Prince referred to the installation of a turning lane on U.S. 42, a
project that might also cause traffic delays.
by Don Ward
of a two-lane span to
replace the current single-lane bridge
may begin in 2008, officials say.
According to Phillips, there is no single designated detour
for drivers while construction is under way. Prince said he heard that
8,000 cars cross the bridge daily. These are 8,000 cars that would have
to be rerouted onto U.S. 42.
I dont know if the road can bear that much traffic,
said Prince. It will create some interesting situations.
The Chick Inn is located on River Road, and owners Don and Sharon Scheer
say that closing the road during construction will hurt businesses in
the area. Sharon Scheer said, Its a historic bridge. I wish
it would stay that way.
She is one of many in the community who believes conversion of the one-lane
bridge to a two-lane bridge will change the character of the bridge.
It will change the look of the area, and a one-lane bridge works
now. People stop. You dont have to wait to cross the bridge.
Phillips said that maintaining the bridges style was an important
consideration in planning the replacement bridge. We are actually
using a construction technique that will allow us to save the existing
arches, and we are incorporating them into the new bridge. He
is referring to the concrete arches that form the bridges base.
River Road was added to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinets Scenic
Highway and Byway Program in 1994.
Drivers will be able to enjoy the historic character of the bridge
with the assurance that it will be safe for travel for years to come,
said Phillips. He said the bridge has not been deemed unsafe at this
point, but considering the structures age, its important
that we make repairs now before the bridges safety is compromised
in any way.
Officials considered other alternatives, such as replacing the bridge
on either side of the existing bridge and installing a stoplight, said
Public meetings were held early on in the project, he said. From these
meetings, officials learned that maintaining the character of the bridge
was very important to citizens.
We used the information from those public meetings to guide our
design plans, Phillips said.
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