The Tebbs Bend Bridge carried Tebbs Bend Road over the Green River in Taylor County, Kentucky. It is now a restored pedestrian crossing in an adjoining nature preserve.
The now-replaced Tebbs Bend Bridge over the Green River was located along the former Campbellsville, Muldraugh’s Hill & Columbia Turnpike. The first crossing at the site, a covered bridge, was burned by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan during the Civil War on January 1, 1863. 1 2
The 25th Michigan was assigned to defend the Green River crossing, joined by the 8th Michigan and the 79th New York Highlanders who were ordered to the bridge site from Lebanon on April 26-27. 1 The troops forded the Green River and set up camp on a bluff.
Efforts to rebuild the Tebbs Bend Bridge began on May 1, and the 8th Michigan spent a month felling timbers for the superstructure and cutting stones for the new abutments. 1 The 79th New York was at the site for a brief time when they were ordered away on a scouting mission to Jamestown and the Cumberland River on May 11. By May 21, a temporary, uncovered bridge consisting of a crude bridge deck crafted out of split logs had been completed. Work on a more permanent covered structure began May 23.
On June 5, the 8th Michigan was ordered to return to Lebanon to board a train to Cairo, Illinois to catch a steamer south to Vicksburg, Mississippi. 1 On special orders from Gen. Boyle, 8th Michigan Lt. Michael Hogan, an experienced bridge builder with the Milwaukee Railroad, stayed behind with 44 men and some civilians to complete the covered bridge. The second Tebbs Bend Bridge was completed by the fall. 2
On January 1, 1907, at 4:30 am, John Stone, a driver for J.B. Barbee’s mail wagon, approached the covered crossing only to discover the Tebbs Bend Bridge engulfed in flames. 3 The bridge’s owner, the Campbellsville, Muldraugh’s Hill & Columbia Turnpike Company, fashioned together canoes to transport mail, passengers and express over the river until a ferry could be established. The Turnpike raised the price of traveling between Columbia and Campbellsville to compensate for the erection of a new bridge.
In February, a construction contract was awarded to the Vincennes Bridge Company of Vincennes, Indiana. 3 The Turnpike offered an extra $100 to the company if the new span could be completed by March 31. By the middle of the month, falsework for the bridge had been completed and steel, weighing over 36 tons, had been shipped towards the bridge site. The new nine-panel Pratt through truss was completed on March 31. James E. Rice of Romine became first person to cross the new bridge.
Tebbs Bend Bridge was condemned by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet after it failed routine inspections on August 20, 2014. 5 Plans were made shortly thereafter to preserve the superstructure and reuse it as a pedestrian crossing in the adjoining Tebbs Bend Nature and Recreation Area.
The circa 1907 Tebbs Bend Bridge was lifted from its piers and set in the river on April 17, 2015. 4 It was then carried up the bank and lifted onto new abutments in the Tebbs Bend Nature and Recreation Area.
The replacement Tebb’s Bend Bridge, a Pratt through truss with Corten weathering steel, was built in 2016.
- State: Kentucky
- Route: Campbellsville, Muldraugh's Hill & Columbia Turnpike
- Type: Pratt Through Truss
- Status: Demolished - Replaced
- Total Length: 166 feet
- Deck Width: 15.7 feet
- Above Vertical Clearance: 20 feet
- Navigational Clearance:
- “Green River Iron Bridge Tebb’s Bend.” Campbellsville, Kentucky. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.
- “Green River Bridge.” Tebbs Bend-Green River Bridge Battlefield Association. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.
- Jim. “The New Green River Bridge at Tebbs Bend, 1907.” Columbia Magazine 4 Jan. 2015. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.
- Smith, Larry “Larry Smith photo album, taking down the old Tebbs Bend Bridge.” Columbia Magazine 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. Gallery.
- Smith, Larry “Tebb’s Bend Bridge will be closed tomorrow.” Columbia Magazine 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.