Farmers Questioning Bridge Detour

New restrictions put on the Spottsville bridge mean big changes for the way some Kentucky farmers are transporting equipment.

 

Nearly two dozen farmers met at the University of Kentucky Extension Office in Henderson with members of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

 

Stan Williams has farms in Reed and Basket. Up until recently, he was used to an easy commute.

 

"From my one shop in basket to my shop in reed, I would be on the highway no more than ten minutes, now it's going to take me a three plus hour journey each direction, and the way my beans are maturing, I’m going to have to make two trips,” Williams said.

 

That's less than ideal for Williams, and the roughly other twenty farmers, many of whom vocalized their concerns Thursday.

 

After an inspection showed deterioration on the Spottsville bridge, KYTC has limited traffic to one lane, and restricted loads to 18 tons and 10 feet wide. Because the farmers who transport equipment over the bridge often exceed those limits, they need an alternate route.

 

"They can't stop just because the bridge is restricted. They've got to get the crops out, and we understand that, so that's the best we can do right now is get them across the Audubon Parkway,” KYTC Engineering supervisor Nick Stallings said.

 

Kentucky law prohibits wide load vehicles kinds of vehicles from driving on the Audubon, until an exception was recently made.

 

The state has temporarily approved farmers to travel on the Audubon from the 416 interchange in Henderson County to the 1554 interchange in Daviess County, with some regulations.

 

Farmers need escort from law enforcement, meaning they'll have to travel in groups, and only at certain times of the day when the escorts are available. The tentative times are nine in the morning and two in the afternoon.

"Depending upon harvest and when it's dry weather, when it's not, no two situations are the same,” farmer Joe Foster said.

 

"And they want you to bunch up, and to be all in one line. Which, to me, following a parade is a lot more dangerous than passing two or three vehicles at a time,” Williams said.

 

It's a fluid situation. Stallings has made himself available anytime farmers want to schedule moves.

 

One change farmers requested Thursday was to have the temporary approval route moved back about five miles on the Audubon from the Hebbardsville exit to the Zion exit to avoid the narrow roads.


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