Perry County historic truss bridge finds new Kentucky home

By Brenna Angel, Building Kentucky

A historic truss bridge in eastern Kentucky has a new lease on life. The structure that carries Kenmont Road over the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Perry County will soon be moved about 70 miles north to Morgan County, with the City of West Liberty taking ownership of the bridge.

Built in 1926, the bridge is a two-span pony truss measuring just over 201 feet long. It has a posted weight limit of 10 tons.

The Bridging Kentucky program, an initiative in partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to rehabilitate, repair or replace critical structures throughout the state, considered multiple alternatives for addressing safety deficiencies and determined that replacing the bridge would be the best option because it would have the lowest construction and long-term maintenance costs.

Because the existing bridge was determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, KYTC looked for ways to salvage the truss.

In December 2020, KYTC and the State Historic Preservation Office marketed the bridge to city, county and state government organizations that might be interested in the historic structure for preservation and reuse. The City of West Liberty agreed to take one of the bridge spans for use as a pedestrian bridge in a local park.

The bridge relocation and replacement project was recently awarded to Frederick & May Construction Company for the low bid of $2,287,467. The new Perry County bridge will have aesthetic, non-structural truss elements to mimic the look of the old pony truss. The bridge work is expected to start in late spring 2022.

To learn more about the Bridging Kentucky program, visit bridgingkentucky.com.

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