By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Residents and drivers regularly using Little Wolf Creek Road in southern Whitley County will soon be able to get across the bridge on that road just a bit easier.
During a special-called meeting of the Whitley County Fiscal Court Thursday, present magistrates approved a $20,000 “claim,” submitted by Ron’s Concrete to pour the necessary concrete to continue work on the bridge.
In September 2012, magistrates approved a “memorandum of agreement” to replace the Little Wolf Creek Bridge.
Little Wolf Creek Road is off of Wolf Creek Road, or KY 628, in the Pleasantview Community.
The project is expected to cost $108,000, with the state providing 80 percent and the county funding the remainder.
The magistrates accepted the lowest bid on the concrete portion of the bridge from Ron’s Concrete at $40,000. The project was not expected to begin until state funding was in hand.
However, while the project was in process, it was discovered the endangered fish, the Cumberland Darter minnow, was a resident of the creek.
The project was then halted so Conservation Fisheries, of Knoxville, Tenn., an independent contractor, could come in to help preserve the minnow’s habitat.
According to County Projects Director Amber Owens, the group requires special training in order to work through this situation. “They had to come out here and get up the nets to protect that area,” Owens said. “And they finished on Friday.”
The company “installed” environmentally friendly netting across the creek approximately 100 or so feet from the bridge work, which keeps the endangered fish from getting to close to the work area. In the waters before the netting, the minnow appeared to be thriving in that environment.
Currently, yellow caution strips are laced around the hole in the road, and a single-vehicle gravel “drive-around,” has been in place. In the center of the hole are three large drainpipes.
Now that Conservation Fisheries completed its work, concrete pouring can now resume.
According to Owens, the concrete company will pour the concrete for the bridge’s abutments, but the contract stipulates the company requires the $20,000 prior to beginning the work.
Owens added that was the biggest reason for the special meeting Thursday — to get the money approved so the new bridge’s construction could quickly resume.
Magistrate David Myers motioned to approve the claim, with a second from Magistrate Robbie Brown. The court was unanimous with the decision with present members — Magistrate Jamie Fuson was unable to attend the meeting.
According to Judge/Executive Pat White Jr., the concrete work is scheduled to begin Monday with an expected completion time to be two to three weeks.