Year-long bridge closures could endanger small Kentucky community of Corinth

Posted at 12:42 AM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 01:04:54-05

CORINTH, Ky. -- The 232 people of Corinth will spend 2019 making longer commutes and waiting an additional half-hour for emergency responders to reach them in times of crisis. 

The South Blanchet and South Delaney bridges connecting their small community to the interstate closed at the end of November due to safety concerns, and neither is expected to reopen until safely replaced in 2020. 

Bridge owner Norfolk Southern Corporation declined to send a representative to a Monday evening meeting at the Grant County courthouse, where angry, anxious residents vented their frustrations.

"I think the question we're trying to answer that no one seems to be able to fill in for me yet is, 'Who's accountable?'" David Shrontz said. "The ultimate responsibility has been avoided. Whoever was responsible for maintaining it … hasn't done so for years and years."

Lynn Lakes, who said she had lived in Corinth for more than 30 years, was upset to learn she'll have to spend at least a year taking an 11-mile detour to reach the interstate and get to work. She was more concerned, however, about her neighbors. One of them has epilepsy and sometimes needs emergency medical attention.

Jacob Fox, one of the firefighters who might be called upon to provide it, added detours aren't a problem just because they extend each trip. The back roads he and others will be forced to take are also hillier, curvier and more treacherous, especially in severe weather.

"Those little roads, they're hard to maintain in the winter because they're gravel, and it's hard to plow a gravel road," he said. "Flooding is definitely an issue."

Norfolk Southern did not respond to a request for comment.