Construction will begin soon to install a Mabey steel bridge to replace the old Perkins Creek Bridge that was washed out in recent flooding, after years of being undercut. At a special called meeting on Tuesday, the Letcher County Fiscal Court voted unanimously to accept the bid from Greg Hale LLC, a Letcher County contractor who submitted the only bid.
Hale said he expects it to take about 30 days to do the work and added that the Kentucky Department of Water will have to give its approval for some of the demolition work on remains of the old bridge. He said his company will work with communications companies to move lines and Judge/Executive Jim Ward said a water line running across the river will have to be run under the river in a line bore.
At a special meeting held in early April, the court voted to purchase the Mabey Compact 200 Bridge after examining specifications on three bridges. However, after looking at the way the old bridge was undercut, Judge Ward said he was told it would add to the structural integrity of the new bridge considerably if 20 feet (10 feet on each side) were added to it. The court voted to make the change and Ward said the original cost was $102,265. The extra 20 feet will add $25,965 to the overall cost. Greg Hale LLC’s bid of $131,900 was for construction of the original span and the extra 20 feet.
Greg Hale said that along with the added stability of the extra length, removing the center pier will allow the water in the river to flow straight rather than being split by the pier and routed into the bank, causing further erosion. He added that if DOW will give its approval, it would help stabilize the bank further if some of the old construction material could be used to help shore it up.
Ward said the county has $176,000 in state emergency funds at an 80/20 match for the project, and the fiscal court will have to come up with an additional $38,000. The court will pay Greg Hale LLC half the cost initially to allow for start-up costs. It will pay an additional 25 percent when the work is halfway complete and the remainder when it is finished.