The Clays Ferry Interstate Bridge carries Interstate 75 and US Routes 25 and 421 over the Kentucky River between Fayette and Madison counties in Kentucky.
In 1792, Valentine Stone received a license from the Madison County government to operate a ferry across the Kentucky River between Fayette and Madison counties. 1 Stone sold his ferry operation to General Green Clay in 1798.
Clay’s descendant, Brutus J. Clay, and R.C. Rogers sold the ferry to the Richmond & Lexington Turnpike Company in 1865, who maintained operations until it constructed a tolled bridge in 1871. 1 The Turnpike, sans the river crossing, was purchased by the Fayette and Madison county governments in 1897. The company was allowed to operate the bridge until 1906 when W.S. Moberly, James Erskine, and Thomas J. Smith purchased it at public auction for $4,755.
Moberly, Erskine, and Smith organized the Clays Ferry Bridge Company and continued to operate tolled river crossing until the Commonwealth of Kentucky purchased the crossing for $200,000 on April 1, 1929. 1 Tolls were removed on December 24, 1930.
As part of ongoing improvements to US Route 25 throughout the state, the Kentucky State Highway Department completed a high-level crossing over the Kentucky River in August 1946. 1 At the time of its completion by the Mt. Vernon Bridge Company of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, the two-lane Warren deck truss was the seventh-highest bridge in the United States.
The US Route 421 designation was added onto the crossing in 1951 when its route designation was extended north from Bristol, Tennessee to Bedford, Kentucky. 2 A twin span was constructed when Interstate 75 was constructed through central Kentucky in 1963. Both of the bridges were widened and joined together to form a single six-lane crossing in 1998.
- State: Kentucky
- Route: Interstate 75, US Route 25, US Route 421
- Type: Warren Deck Truss
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 1,712 feet
- Main Span Length: 448 feet
- “Clay’s Ferry Bridge seventh highest when built.” Kentucky Post 23 Aug. 2004. 26 Nov. 2007: 7K.
- Sanderson, Dale. “End of US Highway 421.” US Ends. Web. 08 Feb. 2016.