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White Mills Bridge rededication Sunday

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Bridge reopens after repairs made

By Marty Finley

 

The community of White Mills has one of its treasures back.

The White Mills bridge has reopened after repairs to its structural foundation were made, and the White Mills Civic League is hosting a rededication at 2 p.m. Sunday to welcome its use back into the town.

Tim Dennis, president of the White Mills Civic League, said Hardin Judge-Executive Harry Berry will present a proclamation during the rededication. Gifts and plaques will be given to those who helped make the bridge repairs possible, including former state Sen. Elizabeth Tori, who secured around $200,000 worth of funding for the project. The repairs were bid at more than $500,000.

Dennis said the bridge originally was built for about $2,000.

“Of course, it cost a whole lot more to repair,” he said.

White Mills also will honor local resident Spurrier Graham for his efforts to keep the bridge active, Dennis said.

Following the ceremony, a reception will follow near the site of the bridge, and a showcase of historical photos tied to the bridge will be on display inside White Mills Christian Church for several hours during the day, Dennis said.

The county-owned bridge, built in 1899, closed to motorists during the summer of 2011 after a state inspector found defects more severe than originally expected.

Berry said a structural engineer from Frankort analyzed the bridge and rated it at a 2.1 ton weight capacity. The bridge was required to support three tons to safely hold vehicular traffic, but Berry would not allow the bridge to open until it reaches a five ton weight capacity.

The contract for the repairs was awarded in early spring of this year, and Dennis said the bridge has been open for a few weeks.

“It’s kind of the center of our community,” he said.

Dennis said the bridge serves a vital role in White Mills Days and Christmas events and is an important touchstone for most residents.

“We’re just very thankful,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.