Cumberland Falls Bridge

    Cumberland Falls Bridge

    The Cumberland Falls Bridge carries KY Route 90 across the Cumberland River above Cumberland Falls southwest of Corbin, Kentucky.

    The Kentucky State Highway Commission long envisioned constructing a modern two-lane highway to connect Cumberland Falls to US Route 27 at Parker Lake and US Route 25W near Corbin. The Commonwealth had acquired 50,000 acres of land as part of its development of Cumberland Falls State Park. 3

    In September 1933, the Kentucky State Highway Commission began construction of KY Route 90 comprised of the 18-mile Corbin-Cumberland Falls Road and Parker Lake-Cumberland Falls Road. At its center was an intermittent ferry over the Cumberland River whose service was often disrupted because of fluctuating water levels. 2 3 At low water levels, the river could simply be forded. 4 The State Highway Commission desired the construction of a bridge above Cumberland Falls and it was hoped that work could start by April 1934. 3 Disputes on who would pay for the bridge and whether or not it would be tolled held up the project until the 1950s. 5

    Construction of a bridge above Cumberland Falls within Cumberland Falls State Resort Park began in 1953 2 and was opened to traffic on September 27, 1954. 1 The sandstone-faced closed-spandrel arch bridge was erected by the Dawson Bridge Company at the cost of $550,000. 6 It was dedicated to Edward M. Gatliff who spearheaded road improvements in southeast Kentucky. 7


    • State: Kentucky
    • Route: KY Route 90
    • Type: Closed Spandrel Arch
    • Status: Active - Automobile
    • Total Length: 550 feet
    • Main Span Length: 100 feet
    • Deck Width: 26 feet


    1. “Cumberland Falls Bridge.” Paducah Sun, 29 Sept. 1954, p. 4.
    2. “Cumberland Falls Bridge.” Lexington Herald, 25 Mar. 1953, p. 4.
    3. “Gatliff Plans Falls Bridge.” Courier-Journal [Louisville], 12 Sept. 1933, pp. 1-3.
    4. “Cumberland at Burkesville Will Have New Span.” Paducah Sun-Democrat, 28 Jun. 1933, p. 1.
    5. “Cumberland Falls Bridge is Urged by Assembly.” Courier-Journal [Louisville], 24 Jan. 1950, p. 8.
    6. Courier-Journal [Louisville], 24 Sept. 1954, p. 17.
    7. “Gatliff Bridge Plaque Unveiled.” Lexington Herald, 28 Sept. 1954, p. 1.

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