MIDWAY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A bridge that connects Scott and Woodford counties has been closed for nearly two years, for safety reasons. Some people don’t like the delay in fixing it, saying it has been two years too long.
The problem? Figuring out how to maintain the area’s historical character.
Before July 2016, people say the Weisenberger Mill Bridge was used all the time. Now, to get to the other side, you have to drive about 12 miles around.
People living in Zion Hill in Scott County say not having the bridge is hurting their commutes, and even emergency response times, saying there’s been at least once when someone has almost died because it took EMS too long to get there.
“If I’m dying, I need you to come as quick as possible,” said Richard Hughes, who lives in Zion Hills. “I don’t have time for a detour. I need you to cut straight through to where I’m at.”
So, what’s taking so long to get the bridge fixed? In a planning meeting, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says it’s because Weisenberger Mill, and the bridge itself, are historical landmarks.
“We want to make a very good decision in preserving the setting and feeling of that area,” said Historic Preservation Coordinator Jonna Wallace.
But, after so many years of the bridge being closed, some people don’t even care if it will be a historical renovation. They just want to be able to use the bridge.
Richard Hughes and his father say they feel like Zion Hill has been ignored in the process of fixing the bridge, which they say defeats the purpose of worrying about the historical significance, saying nothing would be there if weren’t for people originally in Zion Hill, like their ancestor who they say helped build the dam.
“The mill came because of the dam, which because of my great-grandfather is a dam. So, there’d be no mill if it wasn’t for Zion Hill,” said Isaac Hughes.
“If we’re gonna talk history, I could care less if you’re gonna leave my part of the history out,” said richard. “So, if you’re gonna leave my part of the history out, then let’s leave everybody’s part of the history out and say ‘forget the historical significance of the bridge and we’re just gonna do it how it needs to be done.”