Within the past seven years, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has restored six of the 12 remaining covered bridges, and a seventh (Goddard Covered Bridge) is currently under construction, using the traditional process for project delivery: Design-Big-Build.
Each of the six completed projects was unique and presented its own set of challenges, according to Marc Williams, Commissioner of Highways.
However, he noted, these projects did have several common undesirable characteristics and each required significant change orders that resulted in cost overruns. In addition, he said, each project took considerably longer to complete than originally planned with very little of the original material salvaged during the restorations.
Williams said that KYTC plans to apply lessons learned from previous covered bridge restorations to the remaining five covered bridge projects, and will rely on the goals outlined in the "Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Historic Covered Bridges" as a standard for Kentucky's Covered Bridge Preservation Program.
The first goal of the charter, "to preserve the historic structural and material integrity of covered bridges to the maximum extent possible, consistent with public safety", will be heavily weighted in the selection of future winning bids.
In November, KYTC solicited "letters of interest" for design/build teams for the Cabin Creek Covered Bridge Project in Lewis County and the Johnson Creek Bridge in Robertson County. Each "team" is to consist of at least one qualified timber frame bridge designer and one qualified timber frame bridge builder (bridgewright).
The Cabin Creek Bridge is located neat Ky. Rt. 984 in northwestern Lewis County. This bridge is a multiple "King Post" design, where each truss is augmented with a laminated "Burr Arch".
The bridge is framed by two 114-foot by 14-foot nine-inch trusses containing 14 panels that are approximately eight feet in length.
Florence/Lewis County Herald
truss work inside the Cabin Creek Covered Bridge.
The bottom chords contain two 6x8s and one 9x8. The top chord contains two 5x6s and one 5x9. Posts are double 6x7s and braces are double 6x6s. Tie beams are 4x8. Roof rafters are 2x4 in size, spaced approximately two feet on center.
A Transportation Cabinet memorandum notes that the Cabin Creek Bridge is in poor condition and should be considered a "major rehabilitation", and that dry stone abutment restoration will not be considered part of this project.
Lewis County historian Dr. William Talley notes that the Cabin Creek Bridge was built in 1875 by William Henderson, who also built his home across from the bridge.
Dr. Talley recalls driving across the bridge until it was closed to vehicle traffic sometime in the 1970s.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has scheduled a public meeting from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 15, at the Tollesboro Fire Department. Representatives from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Buffalo Trace Covered Bridge Authority and Kentucky Heritage Council will be on hand to hear public input on the restoration project.