HART COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) Construction is finally underway on the world’s longest underground swinging bridge right here in Kentucky.
The bridge is being constructed inside Hidden River Cave in Hart County.
This week, construction crews have been working tirelessly to bring in more than 10,000 pounds of steel into the Hidden River Cave. With the bridge being assembled so far back into the cave, most of the steel has been brought in by hand.
"Biggest challenge so far has just been getting materials into the cave, climbing in and out of the steps, and maintaining a safe environment. We are in a cave so you’ve got a rocky and slippery environment to work in. So just keeping everybody safe has been a big challenge," said construction worker Joe Shultz.
It took 18 people to get two beams weighing over 500 pounds inside the cave. This is the first time many of the construction workers have worked inside a cave.
"So far the project has been difficult but rewarding. The next phase of it is going to be figured out as we go. It’s a first time process for I think everybody here," said Shultz.
More walkways and bridges will allow people to explore parts of the cave that haven’t been seen since 1943, including one fo the largest cave rooms in Kentucky.
Dave Foster oversees the cave and said this project has been tedious and time-consuming, but the end result will be worth it.
"This is been a challenge, I’ve taken under a number of challenges here at Hidden River Cave over the years but this is probably the hardest thing we have ever tried to do. Because we are hanging what I believe will be the worlds longest swinging bridge in the cave," said Dave Foster, with the Hidden River Cave.
Foster said he expects the bridge to be completed in two weeks, but it will not be open to the public for a few months. He hopes that the bridge will attract more tourists and that they will eventually have up to 30,000 visitors a year.