• By Vanessa Seitz, Midway Correspondent

Midway News and Views

THE WEISENBERGER MILL BRIDGE was closed to vehicles and pedestrians Aug. 30 after a nearby resident expressed safety concerns and offered suggestions on how to improve things. “I feel I have made the situation worse, not better,” said Doug Elam. (Photo by Vanessa Seitz)

“The Bridge To Nowhere,” Part 1

About as close to my home as it gets, the Weisenberger Bridge, which has been closed since July 1, 2016, continues to frustrate Midway residents and others. Two weekends ago, Doug and Kathy Elam, who live just a house away from the bridge, talked with some visitors from Hopkinsville who’d come to photograph Weisenberger Mill and the waterfall. They asked permission to take photos of the stone walls and barn by the Elam’s house, and as most visitors to the bridge do nowadays, they parked at the mill and crossed over the bridge. In an email to judge-executives in Woodford and Scott counties, state Transportation Cabinet officials and others, Elam expressed concern.

“We have observed walkers, children, fishermen, photographers, bicyclists, and even some four-wheelers and motorcycles crossing the bridge. What concerns me is the unsafe condition on both sides of the bridge.”

“The original mounds of dirt and rock, placed close to the bridge on July 1, 2016, has eroded to a point where unsafe conditions exist and some sort of vehicular traffic has occurred – as can be seen on the Woodford County side,” Elam wrote.

“There is not much deterrent on either side of the bridge and as people cross they go to either side, where the pile is lowest, putting them on unleveled ground adjacent to the bridges’ guard rails, which are low and don’t offer much protection.” He also expressed concern about the large number of 18-wheelers that still head towards the bridge, not knowing it is closed.

Elam suggested a solution. He said his company would provide steel bollards and concrete mix to anchor them, which would make it much safer for pedestrians crossing the bridge and still keep vehicles off the bridge. Woodford and Scott county workers would provide the labor.

He suggested other changes designed to encourage visitors to the mill.

Woodford Judge-Executive John Coyle responded to Elam’s email by saying he’d have the Road Department address the safety concerns.

Things didn’t work out the way Elam had hoped.

The Elams say they came home last Thursday, Aug. 30, to find new guard rails blocking the entrances on each side of the bridge and a large pile of dirt and rocks in front of the entrance on the Woodford County side. A sign on the gates reads, “Closed to all thru traffic.”

The bridge is now closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic per Woodford Judge-Executive John Coyle’s orders, according to Tracie Wright, administrative assistant of the Road Department.

“I feel I have made the situation worse, not better,” said Elam. “I even went to the owners of Weisenberger Mill to apologize. In my efforts to improve safety and offer to help, and encourage visitors, my efforts have just made it worse.”

“We have got another year of ‘whatever’ and we don’t want another year of people stepping aside these piles of dirt, and negotiating the barriers and risking getting hurt,” Elam said. He said encouraging visitors to the bridge while maintaining access for pedestrians and cyclists is essential, adding, “It’s what’s best for the community.”

Next week: Part 2 of “The Bridge To Nowhere”

Midway Fall Festival

Continuing Midway’s busy social calendar this time of year, the Midway Fall Festival is now less than two weeks away! It will take place Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the next day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thanks to Country Boy Brewing sponsoring the stage, there are now extended hours on Saturday, with music until 10 p.m. The popular local band “Trippin Roots” will begin playing at 7 that evening.

Also, on Saturday, in front of the Milam House, at 140 E. Main Street, the Wildcat Cloggers will perform at 1 p.m. On Sunday, there will be performances starting at 1:15 p.m. by Southland Drive, Liam Fancy, Argo Lynn and Agility Gymnastics.

There will be arts and crafts vendors, live music most of the day, train rides for kids, a petting zoo, sand sculptures and a great selection of food vendors, too. Craft vendors come from all over the state and have everything from art and pottery to jewelry and clothing. Locals stores will also have extended hours for the festival.

Midway University Family Weekend

To coincide with the Fall Festival, Midway University is hosting its 2nd annual Family Weekend, which will allow students and their families to share the traditions and culture of this unique local university. It’s a great opportunity to tour the campus, visit with other Midway Eagle students and their families, and learn more about all that the university has to offer. More information, including how to register can be found at www.midway.edu/events/family.

The Family Weekend will be held September 14-15 and all families are encouraged to come and enjoy time with their student, check out Midway’s Fall Festival, attend the homecoming soccer games, and tour the campus. The cost of attendance is $20 per person for a single-day ticket (Friday or Saturday) or $30 per person for the weekend. The cost includes a t-shirt for the guest and one for their student, dinner and/or lunch depending on the ticket purchased, and all other expenses associated with on-campus events. Fun activities include a bonfire and s’mores on Friday night from 8-9, the women’s reserve soccer game on Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon, followed by lunch on the lawn at the University. After lunch, from 2-6 p.m., the women’s & men’s soccer teams will play, with the homecoming ceremony between games.

And still offering seasonal produce is the Midway Farmers’ Market on Mondays by Darlin’ Jeans in the United Bank parking lot. Open from 3 to 6 p.m., the market has tomatoes, zucchini, squash, potatoes, herbs and other seasonal produce.

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