Panther Creek Bridge will not reopen

Local

DAVIESS COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC) announced Tuesday the Panther Creek Bridge will not reopen to traffic.

The bridge was damaged by an over-sized vehicle last week that impacted every cross member along the top portion of the bridge.

“We are working closely with the Secretary’s office in Frankfort to secure the funds necessary to replace the existing structure,” said Chief District Engineer, Deneatra Henderson. “We are considering a design-build style procurement to allow us to expedite the process. Typically, projects of this nature tend to move a little faster.”

While the damage is very similar to what occurred in August of 2019, the heat-straitening technique used to repair the bridge cannot be used again, as the steel is already brittle from previous repairs. This was demonstrated during this impact with the evidence of cracking along the bolt holes at some of the beams. Because of this, engineers in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Bridge Division have determined that the bridge cannot reopen, and repairs would not be cost effective when compared to the cost of replacement.

KTC

Traffic on KY 81 is being routed along a marked detour on KY 554 and U.S. 431. KTC says larger vehicles should not attempt to shorten their route by making the turns with Todd Bridge Rd.

Henderson says they are hopeful of the possibility of a temporary crossing in the next few months, which could be opened in 8-10 weeks.

The bridge opened to traffic in 1934. KSP is still investigating the crash and released a second photo of the truck that possibly hit the bridge Monday.

Trooper Corey King says it belongs to a company that was working in the area and was carrying three propane tanks. They say its crane was upright when it hit the bridge.

Trooper King also says they’ll talk with prosecutors about any charges that will be filed.

“We’re going into well over a week of trying to identify the company. Even though we know who the company is, or pretty sure who the company is, our troopers and our resources are having to work overtime to establish that,” King said.

Troopers are collecting more photos and video to better identify it — but they haven’t heard from the suspected owner.

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