SLADE, Ky. (LEX 18) – A bridge for motorists at Natural Bridge will be replaced.
Governor Matt Bevin made the announcement Monday.
The project — a joint effort between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet — will allow for safer and more direct access to the park’s cottages, Woodland Center, swimming pool and Hoedown Island, a public area used for square dancing and other events.
“Natural Bridge is one of the Commonwealth’s oldest state parks, and the bridge to Hoedown Island is a well-known and beloved connection point for visitors, offering a link to weekly hoedowns, campgrounds, playgrounds, trails and picnic areas. This bridge replacement project ensures that guests will have an incredible experience for years to come at one of our state’s most popular parks,” said Governor Bevin in a statement.
The original bridge, constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, was closed in January following an inspection by the Transportation Cabinet that showed signs of deterioration to the bridge piers and beams. An alternate route using another bridge at Middle Fork Campground has since been used for park traffic.
The Transportation Cabinet is contributing approximately $500,000 and the Department of Parks approximately $200,000 for the replacement bridge, which crosses the Middle Fork of the Red River. Construction is expected to begin next spring.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park at Slade has a lodge, cottages, restaurant, campgrounds, hiking trails and a sandstone arch that is a popular tourist attraction. The park is adjacent to the Red River Gorge Geological Area inside the Daniel Boone National Forest.