SLADE, Ky. — An important bridge for motorists will be replaced at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Gov. Matt Bevin announced Monday.
The project — a joint effort between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet — will allow for safer and more direct access to the park’s cottages, Woodland Center, swimming pool and Hoedown Island, a public area used for square dancing and other events.
“Today’s announcement is an important collaboration between the Tourism and Transportation Cabinets. This bridge replacement will allow park guests to better enjoy the beauty, fun and adventure of Natural Bridge State Park,” said Gov. Bevin. “This is how state government should work — cohesively and efficiently to deliver results for taxpayers.
“Natural Bridge is one of the Commonwealth’s oldest state parks, and the bridge to Hoedown Island is a well-known and beloved connection point for visitors, offering a link to weekly hoedowns, campgrounds, playgrounds, trails and picnic areas. This bridge replacement project ensures that guests will have an incredible experience for years to come at one of our state’s most popular parks.”
The original bridge, constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, was closed in January following an inspection by the Transportation Cabinet that showed signs of deterioration to the bridge piers and beams. An alternate route using another bridge at Middle Fork Campground has since been used for park traffic.
“Natural Bridge is one of the most popular parks in our system, and replacing this bridge is of great importance to our valued guests,” Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Don Parkinson said. “I appreciate Sec. Thomas and the Transportation Cabinet for their partnership on this project, and I appreciate the efforts of Gov. Bevin to help make this a reality.”
The Transportation Cabinet is contributing approximately $500,000 and the Department of Parks approximately $200,000 for the replacement bridge, which crosses the Middle Fork of the Red River. Construction is expected to begin next spring.
“Recommissioning this bridge will restore safe access to travelers who visit the resort for business or recreation,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Greg Thomas said. “We are pleased to partner with the Tourism Cabinet to support the local economy by replacing this deteriorating structure.”
Natural Bridge State Resort Park at Slade has a lodge, cottages, restaurant, campgrounds, hiking trails and a sandstone arch that is a popular tourist attraction. The park is adjacent to the Red River Gorge Geological Area inside the Daniel Boone National Forest.