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Commissioner Williams at Nell for bridge ribbon cutting

Commissioner of Highways Marc Williams here for Reece Branch Bridge ribbon cutting, along with Curtis Hardwick, Judge Jerry Vaughan, Magistrate J.M. Shelley and Roads Superintendent Jobe Darnell and Randall Richard and Robert Turner of his staff
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By Ed Waggener
Kentucky Commissioner of Highways Marc D. Williams was in Adair County Tuesday, March 16, 2006, for a ribbon cutting at the new Reece Branch Bridge on Chestnut Grove Road.

He was accompanied by high level Fletcher administration member Curtis Hardwick, former Mayor of Columbia, KY. Hardwick is now Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Intergovernmental Affairs. He has been instrumental in bringing dreams of a better highway system for Adair County to fruition.

Also on hand for the event were Judge Jerry Vaughan, 4th District Magistrate J.M. Shelley, County Roads Superintendent Jobe Darnell, and Adair County Roads Department members Randall Richard and Robert Turner, both of whom worked on the bridge. All profusely thanked Commissioner Williams for all the help he has given to improving Adair County's highway system.

Bridge is second of pair over two streams

The new bridge is one of two which span Reece Branch and Leatherwood Creek. Together, the two bridges replace about 300 feet of creekbed travel and allow school buses, mail carriers, residents to have year round passage across the streams.

There are 35 or so households along the four-miles road from KY West 80 at Nell to KY 61 South at Breeding, KY. Magistrate Shelley says he expects the road to see much greater use and expects a faster growth in housing along the road.

Bridges built with $80,000 of Rural Secondary Roads money

Mr. Shelley said that the larger Leatherwood Creek bridge was built in August of 2005 at a cost to $55,000. The most recently built bridge, over Reece Branch, was finished a few weeks ago at a cost of around $35,000. The money came from the Rural Secondary Roads fund, and Mr. Shelley thanked Commissioner of Highways Williams for the Transportation Cabinet's assistance.

The actual construction of the bridges was done by the Adair County Road Department. The Reece's Branch Road was the first major project which employed the county's first-ever front end loader. "The savings on this one job almost paid for the loader," Shelley said.

In building the bridges, approaches and the roadbed were raised several feet above the average stream level.

Mr. Shelley also said that special thanks should go to the Russell and Chick Walker families, and to the Eugene Coomers, for donating easements needed to build the bridges.

Mr. Shelley says he hopes that money can be found to complete the blacktopping of the road which is one of Adair County's most scenic. Most of the road is hard surfaced, but a short strip is chip-and-seal, and the bridge approaches are still have gravel topping.

Judge Vaughan says some 40 bridges have been built in his tenure.

Judge Vaughan said that he is unsure of the exact number of bridges now built in his tenure, but thinks that the total is now between 35-45.

This story was posted on 2006-05-16 16:08:01
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Ribbon cutting at Reece Branch Bridge, Nell, Adair CO, KY

2006-05-16 - Nell, Adair CO, KY - Photo Ed Waggener. Kentucky Highway Commissioner Marc Williams, far right, was the ranking dignitary at the ribbon cutting ceremony for thee Reece Branch Bridge held election day, May 16, 2006. Others are, from left, Randall Richard, Robert Turner, Adair County Highway Director Jobe Darnell, former Columbia Mayor Curtis Hardwick, Judge Jerry Vaughan, and Magistrate J.M. Shelley. With the completion of the bridge and the earlier completion of a bridge in the background over Leatherwood Creek, year round travel between Nell and Breeding is now possible.
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