When a locally-owned railroad overpass abruptly closed in the community of Nortonville, Kentucky – a rural town with a population of 1,100 residents – a key connection to more than 100 homes and businesses was instantly lost.
State bridge inspectors found structural issues – dropping the condition of the bridge from fair to critical – and recommended local officials close the bridge in the interest of safety. The result: residents had to take an extended detour and emergency services access was limited for 17 months.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Governor stepped in to provide administrative and financial assistance to get the local New Salem Circle Bridge open. It took a high level of cooperation to work through the various issues required to make this repair project come together, as the area surrounding the bridge included U.S. 41, power lines, telecommunications cables, the Nortonville Water Plant, water lines, railroad tracks, and a cemetery. That created a long list of factors to consider before repairs could start. The bridge was reopened in June 2019 and members of the community came out to express appreciation at a ceremonial reopening event.
The impact of bridges can’t always be calculated by average daily traffic but is measured by the daily impact it has on citizens that rely on transportation to stay connected to what matters most.