After bridge collapses, county officials have to turn away replacement

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LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Wednesday morning, a Letcher County bridge collapsed. The bridge is off Highway 7, at Perkins Branch.

Monday afternoon, county officials thought the bridge would be replaced.

"I'd like to see a permanent bridge put in here," said Zennith Ison, who lives across from the collapsed bridge.

County workers put in a temporary crossing but heavy rain could sweep it away.

"My main concern is if we have high waters this will all wash out again and here we are stuck with nothing," said Ison.

The Kentucky National Guard stepped in to offer a bridge.

"I was a little bit skeptical," said Ison.

The National Guard is taking the bridge back.

"We want the bridge but there is no way that we can live up to the agreement with what they want us to do," said Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward.

Ward said there is a long list of requirements for the bridge to stay in place including inspections, only letting emergency vehicles pass, and stationing an officer at all times.

"We have to put armed guards here so no one walks across it or civilian traffic does not cross it," said Ward.

For the 25 families living on the other side of the bridge, they continue hoping for a permanent solution.

"I love where I live and I love my neighbors," said Ison.

Officials with the Kentucky National Guard said the requirements are all safety measures.

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