Plans are in the works for repairs of the collapsed section of roadway on KY 987 at Brownies Creek in Bell County.
A portion of the road fell in early Tuesday morning, creating a serious, impassable hazard.
“Our office has been inundated with calls and questions,” said Bruce Nunn of the Bell County Road Department. “We sympathize with the situation out there, but that is a state road, not a county road.”
However, Nunn has been helpful in pointing residents to the right people to get their questions answered and needs addressed.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials confirmed they are working on a plan to get the road repaired and reopened.
“We intend on doing a soil nails project out there on 987,” said Robert Perkins, section engineer for the transportation department. “By using soil nails, we will be better able to solidify that wall and things will then be stable.”
Soil nailing is a technique for stabilizing slopes and for constructing retaining walls from the top down.
Work on the road should begin in the next week or two, said Perkins.
The repair project should last three to four weeks from the start of the work, he said.
“The road should certainly be reopened before July,” said Perkins.
In the meantime, local residents are dealing with the inconveniences.
Some of those concern how children who ride the school bus will now get to school. There are about 75 children between grade school and high school who ride the route in the area.
“We have already adapted and have a plan, or route system, that seems to be working until the road gets reopened,” said David Gibbons, Bell County School Bus Garage coordinator.
For now, the Bell County school bus route for the Brownies Creek area has been divided into two runs. They basically created a new run to make it work for the children.
“Things aren’t too awfully different or challenging for the kids,” said Gibbons.
The drivers, however, have it a little bit tougher. The drivers for that area now have to wake up earlier and are somewhat inconvenienced with an added 35 minutes of overall drive time.
Everyone, including Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock, will be happy to see the road repaired and reopened. Brock has offered his assistance to the state to help expedite getting work underway, completed and the road opened.
Brock was involved in talks that considered opening Hen Wilder Road through the Nally and Hamilton mining operation. Those talks were just one of the ideas thrown out to best help the families in the Brownies Creek community. That plan was not acted on.
“By the time we would be able to get Hen Wilder Road opened for automobile traffic, 987 should nearly be ready for reopening,” said Brock. “Plus, we had serious safety concerns with mixing local traffic, along with the heavy machinery presently using that mine road.”
Brock said he is happy that the state is working quickly to get the road repaired. He has also been told its reopening should come within a matter of weeks.
Reach Shane Pippin at (606) 248-1010 ext. 204, email@example.com