Johnson Creek Covered Bridge

The Johnson Creek Covered Bridge crosses Johnson Creek in Robertson County, Kentucky. The covered (Robert) Smith truss, the only one of its type in the state, was constructed in 1874.1 2 8 It is the only covered bridge to have been built by Jacob N. Bower.8

Around 1912, Jacob Bower’s sun, Louis, added an interior arch on each side to support heavier traffic loads over the bridge.2 The bridge was closed to traffic in 1966 when it was bypassed with a new alignment.

In 1968, an arson attempt severely damaged the bridge and it was not repaired until 1972.11

A flood along Johnson Creek in 1997 caused the bridge to separate from the foundation, resulting in the bridge superstructure leaning.1 4 The state made $643,432 available for restoration of the covered span in 2001,2 although the bid came in at $1 million.4 It was announced on October 31, 2003 that the bridge would be dismantled for renovations but no work commenced due to difficulties in funding the project.2

In 2006, the state incorporated a design-build approach during the project procurement phase, where contract bids were selected from firms with the expertise to combine the aesthetics of design and technical needs of construction.9 Work to reconstruct the Johnson Creek Covered Bridge began on June 30, 2007.4 10 Between June 30 and July 1, a “horizontal tower of steel” was guided through the bridge to stabilize the structure.6 In November, the state announced that a 2006 $400,000 Federal Highway Administration’s National Covered Bridge Preservation Program to restore the bridge was rejected.7

Approximately 75% of the original materials were retained in the restoration work, which was finished by Arnold M Graton Associates of New Hampshire in late April 2009.10