4 votes

Heidelberg Bridge


overall view

Photo taken by james back in December 2009

BH Photo #151089

Street View 


Polygonal Warren through truss bridge over Kentucky River on KY 399
Lee County, Kentucky
Open to traffic
Built 1968
Polygonal Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 288.0 ft.
Total length: 358.8 ft.
Deck width: 24.2 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.1 ft.
Also called
KY 399 Kentucky River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.55111, -83.77167   (decimal degrees)
37°33'04" N, 83°46'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/255154/4159622 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory numbers
KY 065-B00016N (Kentucky bridge number)
BH 18861 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 79.8 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • November 18, 2012: Updated by Matt Lohry: Corrected bridge type: this is a polygonal Warren through truss
  • November 17, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Edited page so bridge only has one main name
  • September 28, 2012: New photo from james back
  • January 13, 2012: New photos from james back
  • July 7, 2010: Updated by Bill Eichelberger: Added truss type.
  • March 13, 2010: Updated by Bill Eichelberger: Added Google Street View.


  • james back
  • Bill Eichelberger
  • Luke
  • Matt Lohry


Heidelberg Bridge
Posted March 2, 2021, by Scot Reece (scot_reece01 [at] icloud [dot] com)

I loved reading the messages above, particularly the one from Ron Campbell. He mentioned two of my uncles, Virgil Newman, and Tim Reece. Virgil, my motherís uncle, and Tim, my fathers brother. I donít know if the construction of the bridge helped in the coupling of my parents, (Johnny Reece and Debbie Butler Reece) but nonetheless, it shows how small the community truly is.

Iíve walked across that bridge countless times. I remember in the summer of 2004, they decided to repaint the faded, chipped painted bridge. It was painted a light blue, sky blue before it faded to near whiteness from the sun. While repainting the bridge dark blue, they placed traffic lights, on each side of the bridge. A traffic light in Heidelberg, I found quite humorous. It was different entering the straight stretch going into Heidelberg on 399. Youíd see in the quarter mile distance the bright red, or green light that was so bright and obviously out of place. I wonder if anybody actually sat and waited on it to change in the middle of the night? When the only thing stirring in Heidelberg at night were snakes warming themselves on the warm road.

Kentucky River KY 399 Bridge or Heidelberg bridge
Posted November 17, 2012, by RON CAMPBELL (RONCAMPBELLTAC [at] AOL [dot] COM)

As I lived with my Grand Parents on the hill at the tipple end, I walked the span of the original bridge thousands of times during my childhood and early adult life, recalling each time where the holes and weak spots were located in the wooden deck floor. It was a much simpler, less complicated life then. I wish we could return to that era as we didn't know how good a life we had and as a result couldn't wait to run away to the 'big city' and 'bright lights.' Some of my favorite memories are of standing on the bridge at night light provided by only the moon and a million twinkling stars which cast a silver glow to the surroundings, hearing the gentle roar of the water as it passed over the dam, the white foam and mist created as it dropped into the lower pool. I viewed with awe the power of the river as viewed from the span above during the spring flood as it swept under, carrying dead animals, smashed structures, trees, john boats, canoes, and bottles and jugs by the thousands. I later retrieved one of the john boats, repaired it and made great use of the craft by visiting abandoned apple and pear orchards, and unpicked blackberry and strawberry patches, reaping from each fruits which we would can for later use. I used the craft for fishing and to take me to and from hard to get at squirrel and rabbit hunting sites, to gather liquor bottles which I then washed and sold to the local "distillers" for a nickle each. Good Money, when you had very little. On a good day I could earn $5.00 or more. That, at a time when a 12 oz RC and a bag of Tom's peanuts cost $0.20. At those times I felt as if I were walking on top of the world even higher than the bridge truss work.

I remember a couple of my friends climbing the truss work and walking the length of the bridge, from bank to bank and then climbing back down. I never had the nerve but I later jumped from airplanes and they didn't...so there Tom!

My Grandfather, Clyde Wilson,Sr., my Step-Father, Ernest Reece, along with Virgil Newman, and a little help (very little) from myself and Timmy Reece replaced the wooded floor deck and tire strips on the original bride during the summer of 1964. It was a horrendous, dangerous and back breaking job as we had no cranes, no forklifts no pneumatic or electric tools. Manual wrenches, hand drills, hand saws and man power only. No safety belts, straps or nets. I sometimes wonder how we escaped having someone killed.

The year the replacement bridge (existing) was constructed by out of town laborers much to the delight of the local girls. there were several romances and unplanned "encumbrances" as a result. I later learned several marriages, divorces and bitter words were the result of these "foreigners" visit to our little valley.

Although I am glad the new structure was erected it was a very sad day when the old span was completely removed. Along with it went thousands of memories, good and bad, but such is progress.

One of my most cherished memento's from that time is an original nailer strip mounting bolt from the wooden floor support steel I-Beams. We had to replace the originals with new bolts during our project and I kept one to use as a paperweight. Luckily, I have kept it with me. Just a rusty hunk of useless iron with a corroded steel nut but a reminder of my childhood home and the memories created during those gentle times.

I too, will have my ashes scattered from the bridge into the Kentucky River, there to mingle with the soil and water of my home, becoming one with the most beautiful places provided mankind by God during his creation of the Earth.

My Will instructs by heirs to perform this chore as a sign of their respect for me, my wishes and my love of place.


Kentucky River KY 399 Bridge or Heidelberg bridge
Posted January 13, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This bridge and the one at Cloverport are beautiful and a true testament to how the state of Kentucky SHOULD treat it's trusses.

And heck...I hate to admit it, but Wildcat Blue does look good on them!

Kentucky River KY 399 Bridge or Heidelberg bridge
Posted July 4, 2011, by edna stamper (maedavis42 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

i used to live in heidelberg ky if anyone has any pictures of heidelberg ky could you please email mer some at maedavis42@yahoo.com thank you

Kentucky River KY 399 Bridge or Heidelberg bridge
Posted May 16, 2010, by Rainelle Jett (rain [dot] jett [at] yahoo [dot] com)

In May of 2009 I scattered my father's ashes from this bridge, as he wished. Beautiful place. Forever in my heart. Will visit often, so if you see a girl standing on the bridge throwing flowers - take a moment to wish her and her father peace. Love and miss you dad !