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'We're trapped.' Scores of small bridges damaged in record Eastern Kentucky flooding

Bill Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Weather News

CHAVIES, Ky. — For the last few days, Jennifer Myers and William Duff have used her father’s pickup truck to get to their jobs at a nursing home, but he needs it back soon to get to his own job, and they’re not sure what they’ll do after that.

They have a car, a sharp black Dodge Challenger, at their house on a hillside overlooking Grapevine Creek in Perry County.

The problem is they don’t have a bridge to drive it across.

The severe flash flooding that hit several Eastern Kentucky counties July 28 washed out the ground under one end of the one-lane structure, causing it to collapse.

County crews built wooden walkways over the gaps at either end of the bridge so residents can walk from their homes to the road, but it’s not clear when they’ll be able to get their cars out.

“It’s made it hard,” Myers said.

 

The flood that killed at least 37 people also wreaked havoc on electric service, waterlines, roads and bridges.

Crews have been able to restore electricity to well over half of the people who lost power, but fixing all the bridges damaged or destroyed by the flooding will be expensive and more time-consuming.

The focus so far after the flooding has been on searching for missing people and providing food and emergency shelter for people whose homes were destroyed, so local officials haven’t finished tallying all the infrastructure damage and estimated what it will cost to fix.

However, officials in the counties hit hardest by the flooding said scores of bridges had been damaged or destroyed.

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