Public hears plan for building a new Ky. 152 bridge across Herrington Lake

gkocher1@herald-leader.comDecember 13, 2012 

BURGIN — A new Ky. 152 bridge across Herrington Lake will be built next to the 88-year-old bridge it will replace, according to preliminary plans presented Thursday by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials.

The plan met with the approval of local residents because the old Kennedy Mill Bridge, built in 1924, will remain open during the two years it will take to build the new one between Garrard and Mercer counties. That means residents won't have to make a 30-mile detour to get from one side of the lake to the other.

The proposed plan will mean the demolition of a little house on the Garrard side that Chris and Cheryl Neal have owned since the 1980s. It was a weekend getaway, not their primary residence.

"I've got mixed emotions," Chris Neal said. "We've had a lot of good times on the back porch. I was down there today sitting on the back porch, and I'm thinking 'Man, I'm going to miss this place.'"

But he said the community needs a bridge to replace the narrow, corroded one that poses a safety hazard.

Micki Phillips of Mercer County said keeping the old bridge open during construction will help marinas and other tourist-related businesses.

"I think everybody has done their homework, and this is a good thing," Phillips said of the plan presented to more than 75 people at Burgin Elementary School.

The estimated cost of construction for the new span is $18.5 million, said project manager Ananais Calvin III of the state Department of Highways District 7 Office in Lexington. Buying rights-of-way and relocating utilities will bring the cost closer to $20 million.

The state has more than $8.3 million in federal dollars to build the bridge, so the next step will be to find the rest of the money.

Construction is supposed to start in 2014. The new bridge will be 850 feet long, about 50 feet longer than the old one. It will be 40 feet wide, or twice as wide as the existing bridge.

State officials presented a choice of two bridge types to gauge public opinion about them. One is a flat, "welded steel plate girder" bridge. The other is virtually the same but with a "networked arch" closer to the Mercer County side. The one with the arch would cost $250,000 to $500,000 more than the one without, Calvin said.

The new bridge will be located just north of the old bridge. Once the new bridge is built, the old bridge will be demolished, Calvin said.

The bridge will be the first new span across Herrington Lake since a new Ky. 34 bridge connecting Garrard and Boyle counties opened in 1992. That span relieved traffic on the 1924 Chenault Bridge, which still connects those counties.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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