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Free Betty Ford Bridge

Photos 

Free Betty Ford Bridge

The Paducah Sun: August 27 1978

Enlarge

BH Photo #443447

Description 

Although replacement was talked about the road appears to have been abandoned so the bridge could possibly still be extant.

Facts 

Overview
Pratt Bedstead pony truss over Livingston Creek on Free Betty Ford Road.
Location
Lyon County, Kentucky, and Crittenden County, Kentucky
Status
Was scheduled to be replaced but the road appears to have been abandoned instead.
History
Built 1912
Builder
- Champion Bridge Co. of Wilmington, Ohio
Design
4-panel, pinned Bedstead Pratt pony truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.15700, -88.11613   (decimal degrees)
37°09'25" N, 88°06'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/400893/4112872 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 84431 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 26, 2021: Updated by Brian Lockett: Changed location on ma to match 1953 Lyon Co map
  • February 11, 2019: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added truss type
  • February 11, 2019: Added by Melissa Brand-Welch
  • February 10, 2019: New photos from Melissa Brand-Welch

Sources 

  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Brian Lockett - catbus420 [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted April 26, 2021, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Thanks for the update on the location !

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted April 25, 2021, by Brian Lockett (catbus420 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Free Betty Ford Road is indeed on the 1953 map of Lyon County (called Loyd Road on 1953 map of Crittenden County). It's a few miles NE of the KY-295 bridge. Also, the "1937" map was updated a few years later, so it's more-or-less a 1945 map (box at top right of page notes any revisions made to the map).

It is now KY-1113 in Lyon County and continues northward as Tabor Road and becoming KY-855 north of KY-902. Some maps (i.e. Bing) label it all as KY-855, but all "official" maps that I can find show no route number for the Tabor Road section.

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted December 28, 2019, by Walter Laughlin (laughlin [dot] robert [at] gmail [dot] com)

I don't have to imagine it. I've mapped more than seven-hundred covered bridges which once existed in the Commonwealth.

Matt: The present alignment of KY 295 IS illustrated on the 1937 map. If your 1938 date of construction is correct (I assume the bridge is stamped) this does not discredit it as Fiscal Year construction was in place at that time. Given that in 1937 planning and construction of the new route would have been well underway for a 1938 project, it would not have been uncommon for the map to reflect this even if construction had not been completed.

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted December 28, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Walt, thank you for the information. As you can imagine, it's an adventure discovering and mapping these long lost spans.

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted December 28, 2019, by Matt Lohry

Walt, your assessment makes perfect sense; nice forensic work! It appears that KY-295 was realigned and the present bridge was built in 1938, which is why it doesn’t show up in the 1937 map you mention and the old one doesn’t show in the 1953 map. Cool stuff.

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted December 28, 2019, by Walter Laughlin (laughlin [dot] robert [at] gmail [dot] com)

One addendum: In enlarging the photograph, two structures can be seen in a north-south alignment which appear to be bridge abutments; exactly where they should be.

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted December 28, 2019, by Walter Laughlin (laughlin [dot] robert [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have a feeling that the Free Betty Ford Road and bridge may have been about right here, some three miles southeast of Dycusburg in Crittenden County and six miles SLIGHTLY northwest of Eddyville in Lyon County. Though the article states "six miles north" and I assume that the satellite imagery is based upon this description using due north as a navigational tool. It would not have been uncommon for "north" to indicate a northerly direction in such an article.

The 1953 Kentucky Rural Highway Series map of Lyon County does not list a Free Betty Ford Road. The 1937 Kentucky County Highway map does not show a structured crossing of Livingston Creek at the Crittenden - Lyon County line that does not exist today. Neither illustrate any road stubs at the county line which do not exist today. What the 1937 map does illustrate is a short loop of old KY 295 just east of the present crossing which I have illustrated on the attached image. This loop is not illustrated on the 1953 map.

As KY 295 is a major north-south road, an earlier alignment would have had a structured crossing over Livingston Creek and only reasonably significant lesser roads would have had the expense undertaken of an iron or steel truss. The fact that this bridge existed suggests that Free Betty Ford Road was at least a fairly heavily traveled road at one time.

This is by no means definitive of the location but archival materials do suggest that it is a more than reasonable consideration.

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted February 12, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Me too Melissa! It sounds like they were set on building a new bridge, but the satellite imagery suggests that they not only abandoned this road but also part of Mill Bluff Road as well. The road to the East of the bridge site appears to still be accessible, but the road to the West has been plowed over. I looked at a few different satellite views but all had trees blocking the creek.

Free Betty Ford Bridge
Posted February 11, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Thanks Tony. I wondered about the road being Abandoned.