Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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September 13, 2012

Span crosses Little Sandy River, connects downtown to U.S. 23

GREENUP — For the first time in nine years, downtown Greenup has an access point on its north end.

State and local officials on Wednesday gathered to cut the ribbon to mark the opening of a new bridge across the Little Sandy River.

The new span — which connects Ky. 2541 (Main Street) and U.S. 23 — represents a $6.2 million investment by the state, said Bart Bryant, chief district engineer with District 9 of the Kentucky Department of Highways. Planning and design cost about $1.4 million, while the actual construction, which was done by American Contracting Services Inc. of Jeffersonville, Ind., cost $4.8 million, he said.

Construction started in September of last year. The project included dismantling the original 127-year-old span during the winter. That bridge had been closed since September 2003 because of structural deficiencies.

The old one-lane steel-truss bridge had last been rehabilitated in 1954.

One of the unique aspects of the new bridge is it sports concrete barrier wall railings with cathedral-shaped openings, a design that was common on bridges of the past. The railings are like the ones on the Russell viaduct, and according to District 9 spokesman Allen Blair, they are intended to help the bridge better blend in with Greenup’s historic downtown.

At 32 feet wide, the new bridge is wider than the one it replaced and is expected to enhance traffic flow into and out of Greenup. Additionally, it once again provides motorists with a third access point into the city.

Greenup Mayor Lundie Meadows, one of the speakers at Wednesday’s ceremony, said having the number of access points reduced to two — Washington Street and the overpass on the southern end of town — after the old bridge was closed often created traffic congestion on busy days, particularly on the overpass.

Main Street becoming a through route again should also prove to be a boon for businesses in the downtown area, Meadows said.

State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, said the new bridge represented a vital improvement to the infrastructure of the city and county. She said such projects are particularly important in an era when much of the country’s infrastructure has become “substandard and dangerous.”

The fact the new bridge will help boost a downtown — many of which are also suffering from years of neglect — is an added bonus, she said.

State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore, presented a plaque that hung on the old bridge to Meadows, Greenup County Judge-Executive Bobby Carpenter and Greenup County Public Library Director Dorothy Griffith. The plaque, which was placed on the old span by the King Iron Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, to mark its completion in 1884, will be housed in the library’s new main branch in downtown Greenup when the building is completed.

“This bridge replacement assures a safe and convenient route to and from downtown Greenup,” Pullin said. “It will improve traffic flow for travel and commerce in Greenup. Since it is the county seat and citizens from throughout the county come to downtown Greenup to conduct business, it is particularly important that there is safe and clear access to the downtown area.”

 Pullin said the completion of the bridge also sent a message Greenup is “open for business.

“Come see our beautiful new bridge and come see our town,” she said.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2654.

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