SANDY HOOK, Ky. – The Old Laurel Gorge Bridge over the Little Sandy River will soon get new life with much-needed repairs. Gov. Andy Beshear presented a $989,445.60 ceremonial check at Elliott County High School for the state project to restore and reopen the bridge.
The steel truss bridge, opened in the 1930s, has been a gateway to the scenic Laurel Gorge for generations of fishermen, kayakers and other recreation lovers.
“By investing in our infrastructure, we are ensuring it will stand the test of time and be here not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren,” said Gov. Beshear. “This project will protect families, reduce traffic and improve the lives of all Kentuckians in the region who rely on the bridge and need it to reopen after all necessary safety upgrades have been made.”
The restorations for Old Laurel Gorge Bridge include adding splice/reinforcement plates, replacing rivets and other repairs to strengthen steel beams. Guardrail and bridge joint improvements are also planned. When repairs are complete, a new coat of paint will preserve the bridge’s integrity.
The structurally deficient bridge was closed to all traffic in recent years due to its condition, and prior to closure the bridge was only rated to carry traffic up to three tons.
The restoration project, by Intech Contracting LLC, will allow the bridge to be reopened at an increased weight limit of 15 tons to serve local residents and schools buses, as well as outdoor enthusiasts visiting cliff-lined Laurel Gorge.
The bridge serves another critical function: It carries utility lines across the Little Sandy, connecting sewage treatment and other services in Sandy Hook to rural Elliott County and the nearby Little Sandy Correctional Complex. The project is made possible with federal and state funding through KYTC’s Bridging Kentucky program, which was launched to repair or replace hundreds of smaller bridges across the commonwealth. Work on the project began in March, and it may be finished by late summer or early fall.