Blackey Bridge Site Preparations to Begin This Week Ahead of Repairs in Letcher County

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (July 8, 2024) – The first steps in safely reopening the Blackey Bridge in Letcher County will start this week now that repair plans are in place and materials have been ordered.

On Wednesday, July 10, crews will begin site preparations and equipment staging ahead of work in an effort to speed up the repair timeline.

Temporary traffic changes are needed to allow crews room to work, so KY 7 near the bridge will be restricted to one-lane traffic controlled by signal lights as crews stage equipment and materials. Motorists are asked not to park in the staging area during working hours. 

“Public safety has been and will continue to be our top priority as we work to repair the Blackey Bridge,” said KYTC Chief District Engineer Mary Westfall-Holbrook. “We appreciate the public’s understanding and look forward to having this vital link reopened soon.”

Grass and tree-cutting operations along the bank around the bridge as well as sandblasting on the bridge will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Once materials arrive, contract crews will begin repair work that’s expected to take three to four weeks. Schedules are subject to weather conditions and other factors.

The bridge, which links KY 7 and KY 588 at Blackey in Letcher County, was closed in early June after a routine inspection found damage identified within critical steel connections underneath the structure that required its closure to safeguard the traveling public.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet took immediate steps to barricade the bridge and to expedite hiring a consultant to plan repair work.

The Blackey Bridge, a 1930 steel truss bridge over the North Fork of the Kentucky River, serves approximately 180 vehicles per day. It will remain closed to traffic throughout the duration of the repair project. 

Detour routes include KY 160 to KY 15 or KY 2036 to KY 7 towards Perry County. State highway crews have worked to patch potholes, widen shoulders, and make other improvements on KY 588 to assist local traffic using that route.