August 13, 2012

Road closed: Fariston bridge undergoing repair

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — One of the last remaining relics of times gone by is the wooden bridge that arches above the railroad tracks in the Fariston community.

But recently the dilapidated condition of the near century-old bridge has raised concern in the community, which resulted in the road on each side of the bridge being closed.

“I closed the road Monday so the bridge can be fixed,” said Laurel County Judge Executive David Westerfield. “The county maintains the road on each side of it, but the bridge is actually owned by CSX Railroad. We just closed the road so the railroad could repair it.”

Located just off the current McFadden Cemetery Road, the one-lane wooden bridge was constructed during the early 1900s and was a connector between sections of the Fariston community divided by railroad tracks during its heyday during the turn of the 20th century.

Through the years, the wooden bridge served many school-age children en route to and from their one-room schools that existed until the 1960s.

Now owned by CSX Railroad, the wooden bridge serves as a reminder of the prime of the Fariston community, which once offered a post office, depot and a skating rink during the height of the coal boom from 1890 to 1910.

But captured between the large orange signs with black lettering to warn motorists that the road is closed is the bridge itself — with holes in the wooden planks and some of its guard posts leaning precariously over the side of the blacktop roadway.

Although Westerfield said he officially closed the road on Monday, he was unsure of a beginning and completion date for the bridge.

“I just closed the road for the railroad to repair it,” he said.

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