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Clay's Ferry Bridge (1946)


Clay's Ferry Bridge

original bridge

Photo from old postcard


BH Photo #497504


Built as a 10-span bridge including beam approaches, this bridge had five Warren deck truss spans, with a main span likely around 448' (similar to the successor bridges) over the Kentucky River itself.


Lost Warren deck truss bridge over Kentucky River on I-75/US 25/US 421 at Clay's Ferry south of Lexington
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, and Madison County, Kentucky
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1946 by the Mount Vernon Bridge Co. as part of US 25; twin span added 1963 as part of I-75; both spans demolished and replaced 1998
- Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. of Mt. Vernon, Ohio
Warren deck truss
Length of largest span: 448.0 ft.
Total length: 1,736.0 ft.
Deck width: 25.9 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.88375, -84.33933   (decimal degrees)
37°53'02" N, 84°20'22" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/733989/4196254 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 96182 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 18, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • February 2, 2022: Updated by Paul Plassman: Removed erroneous span length from NBI and added description instead
  • February 1, 2022: Added by Paul Plassman

Related Bridges 



Clay's Ferry Bridge (1946)
Posted February 2, 2022, by Paul Plassman

I suspected that 192' was the cantilever arm length as well. A similar scenario that I've noticed here and there is when the total length of a continuous or cantilever truss is reported as the span length. I think there was a bridge in Tennessee that used to be reported that way until somebody fixed it a few years back.

Clay's Ferry Bridge (1946)
Posted February 2, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Because the existing piers were reused, the span should be the same for all three bridges: 448 feet. Interestingly, 192 feet is the distance between a pier expansion joint and another expansion joint at the center of the span of the present bridge. Not sure of the exact design details of the 1946 bridge maybe if it was a cantilever truss without suspended span, they were for some reason measuring the length of each cantilever arm. I encounter a similar problem with swing bridges. Swing Bridge Spans should be measured from fixed pier to fixed pier, but many NBI entries measure from swing pier to fixed pier, although this seems like a "span" it is not the proper way to measure a swing truss span. Nor should cantilever trusses be measured by each arm, but would not be surprised to see it happen.

Clay's Ferry Bridge (1946)
Posted February 2, 2022, by Paul Plassman

Weird...not sure why the NBI says this bridge had a 192' main span. Pretty sure this was similar to its successors which would mean a main 448' span.

Then again, it's the NBI...and they seem to have two identical data sheets for the 1946 and the 1963 bridges each as well.