• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Weisenberger Mill Bridge for sale

Anybody out there need a bridge? If so, the state of Kentucky may have just what you want. The state Transportation's Highway Department recently announced that the historic Weisenberger Mill Bridge is "eligible for relocation." A news release describes the bridge as a "five-panel Pratt pony truss circa 1935 . 72' long structure with a 12' wide concrete deck (with a) truss span . approximately 40' long." In December of 2015, the state lowered the weight limit of the bridge from 10 tons to three. However, people who live near the Woodford County side of the bridge said they still saw overweight vehicles cross the one-lane bridge, which spans Elkhorn Creek and connects Scott and Woodford counties. One neighbor said while state officials were making the inspection that led to the July 1 closure, two tractor-trailers drove over it. Since then, people who live on either side of the bridge and perhaps thousands of unknowing motorists have had to take different routes to some destinations. They'll continue to have to do so until October of 2017, by which time state officials hope to have finished a $1.38 million, two-lane replacement. Meantime, state Transportation officials have released a Weisenberger Mill Bridge marketing brochure, which includes a list of conditions for sale. The Transportation Cabinet will pay to relocate the bridge, which will include "match-marking" and disassembling the bridge - if the price doesn't exceed the estimated cost of demolition. In return, the buyer must reconstruct the bridge to its original state within a year of receiving "all the elements of the disassembled bridge." There are several other conditions to which potential bridge-buyers must agree: . Posting a performance bond from a surety acceptable to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. . Allowing the Kentucky Heritage Council staff to make an archaeological assessment of the new site. . Maintaining the relocated bridge for 20 years according to the U.S. Secretary of Interior's "Standards for Rehabilitations and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings." . Allowing the public to visit the bridge. . Not objecting to the bridge being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. . Paying all reconstruction costs. . Letting the state Transportation Secretary know when the bridge has been reconstructed. Of course, the Weisenberger Mill Bridge isn't just a bridge that's seen better days. The news release points out it's "been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places by the Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)." Among the potential buyers are city, county and state governments, historic preservation organizations and SHPO-approved individuals. In addition to (possibly) writing a check and promising to look after the 81-year-old structure, the buyer must also submit a written proposal for preservation and reuse of the bridge. The state said the proposal should be as complete as possible and identify and describe the intended purpose of the bridge, the new site location, and source of funding. Proposals must be submitted within 60 days of the state's public notice (The Sun received the news release Sept. 10) to: Derek Adams, Environmental Coordinator, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Highway District 7, 763 W. New Circle Rd., Lexington, KY 40512.

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