Tuesday, July 26, 2022

US-68 1927 Boone Tunnel and 1871 Brooklyn Bridge over Kentucky River

Tunnel: (Bridge Hunter; B&TSatellite, 171 photos)
Bridge: (Bridge Hunter; no longer exists)

From Kentucky digital library via BridgeHunter-tunnel

Looking South towards the river.
Street View

Looking North because the guard rail is at the other end.
Jeff G, Oct 2021

1952 Wilmore Quad @ 24,000

Brooklyn was the name of the town that was here because this was the location of a ferry service.
The screenshot below shows the sharp turns in the road on the north side before the state built the tunnel.
It was the first tunnel to be built in Kentucky for state highway use. [2:28]
The current bridge serves about 2,700 vehicles a day. [3:37]
6:23 video @ 2:02 and BridgeHunter-bridge, c. 1945

It collapsed on Nov 30, 1953, and it was replaced in 1955 by the current bridge.
Photo courtesy of Anna Armstrong via BridgeHunter-bridge

BridgeHunter-bridge has an extensive description of the lost bridge and photos of the bolt that sheared.

Bridges & Tunnels with Sherman Cahal posted
The Boone Tunnel was the first highway tunnel constructed by the Kentucky State Highway Department.
As part of the designation of US Route 68 along the Lexington, Harrodsburg & Perrysville Turnpike, the Kentucky State Highway Department sought to improve the roadway in the vicinity of the crossing of the Kentucky River to remove dangerous curves. A tunnel was bored through solid limestone in 1926-27.
Its fate was aligned with the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge which was erected in 1871 and collapsed in 1953. A temporary Bailey truss structure was shipped from Toronto and hastily erected until a permanent replacement was completed in early 1956, bypassing the Bailey truss and tunnel.
Check out an extensive history of this unique tunnel at http://bridgestunnels.com/location/boone-tunnel/
[B&T says it was the only highway tunnel constructed by the state, not just the first. I can believe it was the only tunnel that did not use Federal funds.]

The replacement bridge looks like yet another UCEB (Ugly Concrete Eyesore Bridge). But then it occurred to me that it was built in the 1950s. A reinforced concrete box girder bridge was probably bleeding-edge technology back then. "It was the largest bridge of its design in the state." [B&T]

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