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Old Glensfork Road Bridge is Open!

From Gale B. Cowan
Adair County Judge Executive

This project began in January 2021. The original structure built around 1955, consisted of 2 steel plate arches, each spanning 21 feet wide and almost 7 feet tall, bearing on standard concrete footings. We received a letter from the District 8 Transportation Office in Somerset that they had lowered the weight limit on the Old Glensfork Road bridge structure from 18 Ton down to 3 Ton.

When I inquired as to why the drastic change, so suddenly, Michael Edwards, P.E., Engineering Support Branch for Structures, KYTC District 8, stated that "Following a statewide load rating analysis of select steel culverts, our bridge preservation engineers determined the posting was necessary due to deterioration and insufficient supporting material above the pipes. The culverts require a minimum amount of fill on top of the barrels in order to rate out, and these did not meet that minimum." This low of a posting means school busses, dump trucks, and farm equipment can't safely cross the structure.

We worked with District 8 office for several months to see if the state could correct the issues with the structure because we did not have the resources to take on the job ourselves. When they said they didn't have the manpower to do it, I contacted Engineer Gregory Eastham to look at the structure and get his recommendations on adding fill between the existing culverts and blacktop or replacing the structure completely.

His examination of the structure showed significant deterioration in the footings and channel support brackets, and he recommended the complete structure be replaced. This is when I went to Frankfort seeking funding for the project.


The state has what they call The 80/20 Bridge Fund. In the past this meant Kentucky Transportation would fund 80% of the project and the county would be responsible for 20%. Now, counties are only eligible for $80,000 per fiscal year. The first estimate for a new structure was over $280,000. Then I asked for emergency funding from the KY Transportation Office of Rural and Municipal Aid. I was told the emergency funds had been depleted for the fiscal year, but if we could wait until the new fiscal year, I could get $200,000. (I printed and held tight to that email.)

The Fiscal Court voted to bid the project, and we received two bids. The lowest bid came in at $208,000 from Mick Murf Construction, Inc. in Bowling Green, KY. This did not include any rock or the blacktopping of the entrances because the county already has bids in place for that material. Once the bids came in, I contacted Rural and Municipal Aid asking for the $200,000 Emergency Funds. My reply was, we can give you $100,000. Nope!! Don't think so! I then sent a copy of the original email saying we could get $200,000. We are thankful for those funds. This means Adair County is only going to be out approximately $20,000 plus labor and equipment.

I want to thank everyone involved in getting the project complete. Even though we have been a year and a half working on the project, actual road closure time from opening bids to opening the road today has been less than 2 months. Thank you goes out to Magistrate Sammy Baker and the entire Fiscal Court for seeing this project through.


This story was posted on 2022-11-14 17:20:29
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Bridge opening celebrated in Glensfork



2022-11-14 - Adair County, KY - Photo from the office of Adair County Judge Executive .
The Old Glensfork Road Bridge opening was celebrated Monday, November 14, 2022 by this group including, from left: Gregory Eastham, Engineer, Adair County Judge Executive Gale Cowan, District Three Magistrate Sammy Baker, and County Road Foreman Barry Hamlett. Judge Cowan said, "Even though we have been a year and a half working on the project, actual road closure time from opening bids to opening the road today has been less than two months. Thank you goes out to Magistrate Sammy Baker and the entire Fiscal Court for seeing this project through."

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New bridge span



2022-11-14 - Adair County, KY - Photo from the office of Adair County Judge Executive .
Adair County Fiscal Court was proud to open the new bridge today. Examination of the previous Old Glensfork Road bridge had shown significant deterioration in the footings and channel support brackets - a complete new bridge was recommended as the solution. Replacement of it was possible only because Kentucky had what they call The 80/20 Bridge Fund so that Kentucky Transportation would fund 80% of the project and the county would be responsible for just 20%.

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