Boyle County will partner with the state to replace a narrow rural bridge that officials say has given them worries as it has aged over the last several years.
At Tuesday’s Boyle Fiscal Court meeting, representatives from the Department of Highways District 7 office in Lexington said the project to rebuild the bridge on Parksville Crosspike is set to be bid on in June. The span, which is used by county school buses multiple times a day, should be completed by the time school starts next year.
In 2011, the county opted to take $80,000 in state funds given to counties for bridge replacement and ask the state to essentially match its own contribution to address the structure. However, state preservation officials had questioned whether the railings on the bridge were historical and the project seemed in limbo.
At Tuesday’s meeting, project engineer Bret Blair called it a minor miracle that Judge-Executive Harold McKinney was able to communicate the importance of completing the bridge and get the state historical preservation office to sign off on the construction in a matter of a few days.
Blair said the highway department looked at ways to close the bridge for the least amount of time and chose a method that essentially will allow a single piece to be dropped into place. While the process will only require the bridge to be shut down for nine days over the summer, Blair said it basically doubled the cost.
McKinney said he was thrilled that the project, which had been championed by magistrates Phil Sammons and Dickie Mayes, was moving forward. He said the thought of a school bus meeting a large truck carrying livestock on the narrow bridge had been a longtime concern for many on the court.
The Beshear administration started the bridge program as well as the rural secondary road program and FLEX funding, which allows a county to use 20 percent of its state allotment for secondary state roads to resurface county roads. In the past, the bridge money has gone to rebuilding bridges on Crawford Hollow Road and Upper Salt River Road.
Fiscal Court agreed with the highway department recommendation to spend about $181,000 on resurfacing part of Forkland Road but held off on deciding how to use $151,000 in FLEX funds.