resumes near Prospect
on Harrods Creek Bridge
timetable set for
renovating the 100-year old span
Helen E. McKinney
PROSPECT, Ky. (December 2009) To the frustration
of Prospect, Ky., area commuters and business owners, the Harrods Creek
Bridge has been closed for close to a year. Work has recently resumed
on a project that was expected to be completed by now but was stalled
due to controversy over safety and repair issues.
Work is under way again, said Lindsay English, Communications
Coordinator for Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.
photo by Don Ward
resumed work on the one-lane
Harrods Creek Bridge.
The timetable for the project is open she said, because
were going into the coldest and most unpredictable parts of the
season. Just when the project will be completed depends on the
A local nonprofit preservation group, River Fields Inc., has dropped
two lawsuits making it easier for the project to move forward. The group
had filed an injunction which halted work, but this was lifted on Sept.
25, said English. By the end of the month, work had begun again on the
At the time the bridge was closed on Nov. 26, 2008, River Fields members
thought minor repairs could have been made to keep the bridge open,
thus avoiding unnecessary inconveniences. The closing came as a result
of Louisville Metro city engineers and the Kentucky Department of Transportations
estimation that the bridges guard rails werent sturdy enough
to deflect vehicles. The bridge was closed due to the recommendation
of state inspector Matt Bullock.
Work to widen and shore up the structure began in June 2009 but was
stopped twice by U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson when River Fields
asked for a temporary halt. The first lawsuit was filed by River Fields
and four co-plaintiffs: the River Creek Homeowners Association, OPEN
Louisville, the Wolf Pen Preservation Association and the Harrods Creek
boat Owners Association.
The lawsuit claimed that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet,
Louisville Metro and the Federal Highway Administration violated federal
law by failing to meaningfully evaluate an enhanced one-lane bridge
alternative, said Lee Cory, who sits on the River Fields
Board of Trustees. The lawsuit urged the court to send the matter
back to these agencies to consider a feasible and prudent
River Fields had also filed a related lawsuit against the U.S. Coast
Guard, which issued a permit for the widening of the bridge. This lawsuit
argued that the Coast Guard failed to comply with the National Environmental
Policy Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act
prior to approving the permit application.
The project will move forward more readily if all of the contractors
and sub-contractors who were hired before will return to work. Many
moved on to other jobs once construction came to a standstill. MAC Construction
is the contractor for the project.
The project is expected to cost just more than $3 million, said English.
This amount includes $1 million for a special design to preserve the
bridges historic character.
River Fields believes that if alternatives had been considered in the
first place, such as the city simply repaving the bridge and repairing
the guard rails, the bridge would have been open in less than six weeks.
Cory said it was closed long before Metro Louisville had the appropriate
permits and approvals to begin construction.
For many, there are safety issues involved with the one-lane bridge.
Safety is and has always been our major concern, said Cory.
As part of Metro Louisvilles only designated Scenic Byway, Cory
believes the bridge should provide a safe driving and cycling experience.
The one-lane design has a speed-dampening effect on what is already
a very curvy road from both ap-proaches. We are very concerned that
a two-lane bridge will cause drivers to increase their speed and cause
more accidents, Cory said.
She does feel that River Fields has accomplished two important goals
with this project. Due to River Fields early work during the historic
preservation process, the final design will preserve the beautiful historic
arches of the bridge. They also protected surrounding historic resources
that are essential to the character of Harrods Creek.
The group will continue to take an interest in the bridge in the future.
Well continue to monitor the project to make certain that
historic properties and the natural environment are protected, in compliance
with a Memo of Agreement under historic preservation law, said
Back to December 2009