Gov. Andy Beshear today announced that contractors have successfully stabilized the flood-damaged Grange City Covered Bridge in Fleming County.
“With the bridge now protectively cradled by steel support beams, this historic structure treasured by the people of Fleming County and the entire Buffalo Trace area is once again safe,” Gov. Beshear said.
In late May, floodwaters inundated the 1860s covered bridge where it spans Fox Creek adjacent to KY 111 just north of Grange City.
State officials, including Kentucky Transportation Secretary (KYTC) Jim Gray, and bridge engineers assessed the damage, then consulted with nationally-known covered bridge expert Arnold Graton on both short-term stabilization and a longer-term restoration effort.
“We knew time was short and that expert help was needed to save this community landmark,” Secretary Gray said. “I’m proud of the work our KYTC team did to secure the bridge and we’re grateful for the partnership with Mr. Graton who quickly marshaled the help of his team to protect the structure.”
Work on the $330,000 stabilization project began in June, immediately after the Buffalo Trace Covered Wooden Bridge Authority, in cooperation with KYTC and the Buffalo Trace Area Development District, contracted the stabilization work to Arnold M. Graton Associates Inc., of New Hampshire.
The first phase included tying the bridge to temporary steel supports to keep it from slipping further and placing sandbags around the damaged piers to control erosion.
For the second phase of stabilization, which began in early November, Graton’s team installed more permanent steel beams across Fox Creek parallel to the bridge. Then, steel supports were tied to the bridge underneath and connected to the beams crossing the creek – creating an exoskeleton of sorts, which now protectively cradles the covered bridge.
“We are pleased with the results,” said Danny Peake, KYTC’s project team leader. “While Mr. Graton called it one of the most difficult saves they have attempted, the bridge came back into place without damage. And, they are confident of its stability as the Cabinet works toward a future restoration project.”
The Grange City Covered Bridge, located in the Grange City community south of Hillsboro, is an 86-foot-long Burr truss design built between 1865 and 1870. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1968, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. For safety reasons, the bridge and the area around it remain closed to the public. Please do not cross barricades or caution tape.
The Grange City Covered Bridge is one of about a dozen covered bridges still standing in the state, and one of three in Fleming County – known to tourists as “The Covered Bridge Capital of Kentucky.”
(provided by Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)