Boyle magistrate unhappy with state’s letter on Perryville bridge project

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, November 27, 2019



Boyle County Magistrate Tom Ellis took issue Tuesday with how the state responded to local input on the U.S. 150 bridge project in Perryville.

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The state is planning to spend $1.2 million overhauling the bridge over the Chaplin River — the only way across for miles around. But locals were surprised earlier this month when they learned the Transportation Cabinet planned to close the bridge to all traffic during the weeks or months it takes to rebuild.

The Transportation Cabinet responded by delaying a public meeting while it researched whether a single lane could be kept open during construction.

“After a public meeting on Nov. 12, it became clear that the community is not ready to move forward with the project until a solution is identified to maintain traffic through town, instead of utilizing a 12-mile detour,” a letter from the Transportation Cabinet, District 7, reads. “The engineering staff at District 7 and in Frankfort are exploring a range of solutions, but with an aging bridge, the problem is complicated. They are working hard to find solutions, but at this point, we don’t know when their study will be complete.”

Ellis said Tuesday the state mischaracterized the situation with the wording of the letter.

“I don’t like them characterizing it as ‘Perryville isn’t ready,'” Ellis said. “… The letter that I received is going to get a response. Because I’m going to clear up the fact that (Former Perryville) Mayor Anne Sleet, 18 years ago, was ready for a restoration of that bridge. I don’t like the way the state characterized it and they will hear from me.”

The bridge construction project is slated to occur in the summer or fall of 2020. “The project will address the deteriorating condition of the bridge deck and bridge rails,” according to information handed out by state officials at the Nov. 12 meeting. 

According to Natasha Lacy with the Transportation Cabinet, District 7, the state has “examined the phasing plan that would keep the bridge open to traffic” and “issues were found during the review process.”

“Discussions with regard to alternative plans will be held with the county judge and (Perryville) mayor,” Lacy said.