Fiscal Court declares emergency for Medlock Road bridge

Published 9:06 am Friday, November 24, 2023

The Fiscal Court declared a local emergency for an unsafe condition of the Medlock Road bridge at its meeting on Nov. 14.

On Sept. 27, the Kentucky Department of Transportation inspected the bridge on Medlock Road and declared it was unstable for any vehicle over three tons.

The bridge was previously rated to carry 14 tons. The weight reduction to three tons prohibits any safety equipment like ambulances and firetrucks from crossing the bridge. The county will be putting up signage about reduced weight.

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Other large vehicles that cannot cross the bridge include full size snow plows and school buses. However, it’s still safe for passenger cars.

Judge-Executive Trille Bottom explained that the only way large vehicles can get across the creek now is to go through the creek bed, which can be a rough crossing. Next to the bridge there’s a path that goes through the creek to the other side.

Bottom said some bids for replacing the bridge are around $250,000. The Kentucky emergency road aid fund approved $80,000 to Boyle County for the project. Boyle County must pay the rest of the $170,000.

The county can authorize funding to either come from LGEA funds, road aid funds, or the general fund. With the emergency declaration, the county does not have to send out traditional bids for the project, and they can go ahead with a vendor for quicker turnaround.

First District Magistrate Tom Ellis said all the community members and farmers on Medlock Road are aware of the situation.

“We have several families back there and several farmers still working their fields back in there and it’s a rough situation,” Ellis said.

Road Supervisor Roger Johnson said the bridge’s supports are in good shape, and the steel underneath is fine. He said it’s mainly the beams on top that are in bad shape.

Johnson said they hope to get the project started as soon as possible, but it could be until the spring when it’s complete. He said the bridge will most likely arrive prefabricated, and it could be shipped quickly once they get everything going.

In other business:

• The court passed a 90-day moratorium on sending out financial disclosure forms for those serving on county boards. Health Department Director Brent Blevins spoke to the court, saying that some local board members believe the forms ask for too much personal financial information.

Financial disclosure forms are aimed at eliminating conflicts of interest for anyone serving on a county board. The court agreed to allow county employees and the ethics commission 90 days to review the forms for possible changes.

• The county will be paving Wards Branch Road. They have been approved for $34,200 for the project.

• The county received funding for the Mansfield Road and Dry Fork Road project in the amount of $69,084. All of Mansfield Road will be paved. Dry Fork will be paved about a half a mile.

• The court passed an agreement for the county surveyor to survey the land at Alum Springs Convenience Center for the possible bike trail project. The agreement is not to exceed $13,400 and they’ll pay when the survey is done. County Attorney Chris Herron said he could help with some of the legal research if it means reducing the survey cost.

• The court passed a motion to help fund the Martin Luther King Day celebration in Danville. Magistrate Jamey Gay brought up the idea, saying the county has helped out with the event in the past. The court will sponsor $1,800 for the meals the city gives out. Bottom explained that the county has a community involvement line item that is specifically in the budget for things like this.

• Magistrate Steve Sleeper proposed that the Fiscal Court form a homelessness task force that would seek to determine and address the root causes of homelessness, and find meaningful solutions to those root causes. It would be made up of local volunteers. After discussion about what others in the county are doing about homelessness and how they can involve them, the court passed a motion to form the task force and report it at the next meeting.

• After an executive session, the court passed a motion to allow the judge executive to negotiate to buy a piece of property for up to $75,000. Gay was the only no vote against this motion.

• The county will close the courthouse for Inauguration Day on Dec. 12. The Fiscal Court meeting that week will be Monday, Dec. 11 at 9 a.m.