As talks continue on the future of a Hopkins County bridge closed since late last year, residents near the New Salem bridge are looking for a quicker resolution and more help from a major transportation company.
While trains can go under the bridge in Nortonville, cars and other vehicles still can’t be on it.
“It looks very dangerous,” says Rick Willis, who is gathering signatures for a petition on the bridge.
“A lot of traffic on this road trying to get out on this end,” adds Barry Franklin, who still use detours around the bridge, which can get crowded, and even occasionally blocked by trains.
“It’s hard to get around the curves, if you meet somebody, the road is so narrow, you can’t pass,” he described.
Talks between city, state, and CSX officials are ongoing over options to get the bridge reopened. Kentucky transportation officials earmarked a half million dollars for design, and are doing surveying. The bridge was closed last December, after transportation officials say cracks surfaced after CSX worked on tracks under it.
A petition calling for CSX to contribute more to bridge repairs or replacement, has several hundred signatures so far. Willis, who attends New Salem Baptist Church by the bridge, says more should be done sooner before it gets worse.
“There’s some real concerns,” says Willis. “If that bridge were to fall on that train, there are a lot of people in that area now, it would be a major catastrophe.”
“I’m real hopeful that they will. I’m not so sure that they’re going to any time soon, that’s what I’m worried about,” adds Franklin.
A CSX spokesman says safety, and structural integrity of the bridge, are their top priorities, adding they are looking in to the issue.
(This story was originally published July 31, 2018)