Historic bridge in Bowling Green defaced amid repairs


Paul Maxwell

A view of graffiti at the Old Richardsville Bridge on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2021.

Michael Crimmins, News reporter

Graffiti across Old Richardsville Road bridge, depicting “Rush Pike,” “KA was here,” “TOPPERS” and more, show that the now-closed bridge still sees regulator visitors. 

The bridge was closed in March of 2018 after the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet discovered numerous structural issues.

The 420-foot-long bridge has become a staple among local residents, and many ghostly legends have been attached to this site. Since the bridge’s closing, it has become a popular site among photographers, cyclists and walkers.

According to a Bowling Green Daily News article written in August, repairs were starting to be made on the bridge under a nearly $300,000 contract to Lexington-based Intech Contracting. The repairs have been slowed because of the pandemic.

Since the bridge has been closed, graffiti tagging, littering and nightly squatters have become common, Lauren Buroker, resident of Old Richardsville Road, said in an email.

Proper lighting of the area, video surveillance and removing the graffiti is key to maintaining the bridge, Buroker said

“The Broken Windows theory, for example, will support the idea that property well lit and maintained will endure, but damaged and ignored structures will quickly deteriorate with vandalism and deconstruction,” Buroker said in the email.

Buroker’s cell footage of the bridge highlights specific phrases like “WKU” and “Wine Night B—h,” as well as graffiti over cement blocks and litter discarded across the area.

“Worse than the damage or nuisances, our frustration comes from the disregard the students have. We envision students getting married at Ironwood, taking their getaway car across the bridge,” Buroker said in an email. “This is not a personal request, but a plea for the community to step up for one of the oldest bridges in the state which contributes to the charm of this city.”

Jace Lux, WKU director of media relations, could not be reached for a comment in time of publication.

Josh Moore, Warren County public works director, said in an email that the graffiti-covered blocks will be removed as soon as the state has finished their inspection. He said the inspections would be completed in the next seven days. 

The repairs on the bridge have not been delayed since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Moore said.

“This type of bridge repair is of a nature that requires a specialty contractor,” Moore said. “Once bids were put out in a contract it took some time to have the steel pieces fabricated. We are currently waiting on fabricated signage to be installed which should take place this week.”

Moore said there may be lights installed at the bridge.

“The county is considering lighting,” Moore said in the email. “However, the reopening of the bridge will likely take place first.”  

News reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm