Projects Transportation

CR-1376 (Watts Drive Bridge)

Letcher County, Kentucky

This project consisted of Phase I and Phase II roadway plans as well as bridge plans for the replacement of a single lane 40’-40’-40’-40’ steel I beam bridge on Watts Drive (CR 1376) over the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Ulvah in Letcher County. The purpose of the project was to improve safety and provide a two-lane bridge to access the many houses across the North Fork of the Kentucky River from KY 7.

The south end of the existing single lane bridge was only 10’ from the edge of pavement of KY 7, making for a very difficult turn onto the bridge from KY 7. In addition to possibly missing the end of the bridge, the slow turn could result in rear end collisions from traffic traveling on KY 7 not expecting such a slow turning movement. The existing bridge was constructed in the 1930s as a WPA project. The three piers were massive wet stone masonry piers in the channel of the river restricting flow during large rainfall events. Approximately 60’ north of the north end of the bridge, Pecan Drive intersects Watts Drive, and approximately 60’ past Pecan Drive is a CSX at-grade railroad crossing.

We studied three alternates for this project. The Project Team determined that the alternate which required replacement of the existing bridge near its current location was the best alternate and resulted in the least environmental impact to the area. Moving the bridge to two other locations downstream of the existing bridge were studied, but both required longer roads and were difficult to tie to Pecan Drive and match with the existing CSX crossing. The selected bridge was a 45’-126’ Type IV PCIB Bridge with the pier located out of the river channel. The 45’ approach span is flared to provide a 50’ roadway at KY 7 to eliminate the turning onto the bridge problem. Bridge was completed as a part-width construction project.