Panther Creek Bridge to remain closed

Panther Creek Bridge to remain closed

DAVIESS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Kentucky State Police are still searching for the truck they believe damaged the Panther Creek bridge in Daviess County.

KSP troopers tell 14 News that a truck had left up its crane when it tried to cross the bridge - causing extensive damage. And now Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Engineers have deemed the bridge impassible at this time.

Nearly 5,000 cars cross Panther Creek Bridge along Highway 81 every day.

“I’m one of those that live out that way and travel Highway 81 every day," said Major Barry Smith with the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office.

But now those drivers are going to have to find a new way to go.

“We had received a call about a vehicle which struck the bridge you see behind me," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey King.

This is the second accident at the bridge in less than a year.

“In fact, last year it was closed majority of the year based on a very similar incident," said Trooper King.

Now, less than six months after the bridge reopened, it’s closed again.

“It’s a very unfortunate thing because it hurts all of our businesses around here, and it also impacts us as families having to take their kids to daycare, travel to work," said Daviess County resident, Jaycee Paceley.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Engineers have deemed the bridge unusable at this point.

“The main structure that holds the integrity of this bridge up, every beam was struck and the engineers have deemed it impassible at this point," said Trooper King.

Kentucky State Police say they’re working to find out who struck the bridge, and they say they believe they have some pretty strong leads.

“We’re 99 percent sure we know who the company is. However, they haven’t been very forthcoming in producing what we need," said Trooper King.

Trooper Corey King says he believes KSP will be moving forward with a criminal investigation.

“So what would have been a simple wreck and a report and get all the parties to the table to start getting this bridge open for all those that travel through here, now is looking more and more like a criminal investigation," said Trooper King.

Kentucky Transportation officials say the bridge cannot be repaired and that it will remain closed to the public at this time.

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