Oldtown Covered Bridge

Oldtown Covered Bridge

  • address Tunnel Branch Rd
    Argillite, KY 41121

The Oldtown Covered Bridge, a covered Burr truss design, served as a crossing for Frazer Branch Road over the Little Sandy River in the vicinity of Oldtown in Greenup County, Kentucky. Its construction was completed in 1880, and supervised by commissioners J. C. Irvin, John Conley, and W. A. Warmack, at a total expense of $4,000. 1 2 3 4 5

In 1972-73, the Oldtown Covered Bridge underwent restoration efforts initiated by the Green Thumb project, 4 5 and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. 4 The crossing was closed to automobiles in 1985 because of structural conditions. 9 It was not until 1990 that a $440,000 concrete span was constructed downstream. In 1996, the state issued an emergency contract to have an engineer evaluate the covered bridge while it awaited federal funding for repairs. 7

Commencing in February 1999, a systematic disassembly of the Oldtown Covered Bridge took place, followed by a reconstruction process involving predominantly new load-bearing components. 6 Despite its original construction utilizing locally sourced timber, the replacement materials had to be transported from the Pacific Northwest, as the required dimensions for the largest timbers, measuring 14 inches by 7 inches by 34 feet, could not be obtained locally. The reconstruction was completed at the cost of $550,000. Notably, 90% of the funding was secured through a federal Transportation Enhancement Program grant, with the remaining 10% derived from state funds.

The restored Oldtown Covered Bridge was dedicated by Transportation Secretary James Codell and other dignitaries on September 3. 8