FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – An historic bridge that crosses the Kentucky River in the heart of Frankfort reopened on Monday, five months after it had to be closed for repairs, but still ahead of schedule.
Built in 1893 by the King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio, and known locally as “The Singing Bridge” because of the noise made by vehicle tires on the open grate steel deck, the bridge at one time carried U.S. 60 traffic over the Kentucky River between St. Clair and Second Street, until U.S. 60 was moved to the nearby Capital Avenue, or War Mothers Memorial Bridge.
It is still designated as U.S. 60X by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, who maintains the 409-foot structure which connects the downtown area to South Frankfort.
On Nov. 21, it was ordered closed and traffic was detoured to the Capital Avenue Bridge after it was struck in a single vehicle crash.
After a contract was approved and shortly before repair work was to begin in March, the bridge suffered a second whammy, as the record flooding caused a 200-foot long dock to break loose from its moorings upstream and was carried by the rushing flood waters where it slammed into the bottom of the bridge.
The Singing Bridge fared better than the dock, as drone video showed the covered dock capsized and sank after passing under the bridge.
Contractors fixed both a truss of the bridge and a bridge rail that were affected during the November vehicle crash. In addition to the repairs, the contractors reinforced truss members of the bridge with new steel. Due to this work, the weight limit of the bridge, which had been at three tons, has been increased to nine tons.
The contract for this project was awarded in February to Judy C. Harp Company Inc. in the amount of $144,307.63. It was anticipated the work would not be completed during the summer, but the company easily beat that timeline, allowing it to open.