Refreshing Kentucky’s Finest

With the recent snow and bitterly cold temperatures, it is easy to find yourself daydreaming about warmer weather and longer days. We relish the thought of venturing outside beyond running as quickly as possible to and from our cars to our homes, the office or the store. When spring has finally sprung, we can take the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy what the Bluegrass State has to offer.

A great place to start is by taking advantage of one of the 49 Kentucky State Parks located across the Commonwealth. In an effort to complete safety and aesthetic improvements within the state park system, Governor Matt Bevin implemented the “Refreshing the Finest” campaign in 2016, committing $3.13 million in funding for various renovations. Many of these improvements were carried out during 2016 and 2017, meaning visitors will see a difference on their next trip.

Kentucky Living magazine cover for January 2018Bell Engineering was privileged to work on several of these projects including upgrades to the utilities at Waveland Mansion located in Fayette County, and work at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Whitley County. Each project required a unique approach due to the differences in scope. This process highlights the Bell team’s ability to design projects with regards to the context of their surroundings.

The Waveland Mansion is located just inside the Fayette County line near Lexington, Kentucky. It was constructed prior to the Civil War, and was once part of a 2,000-acre farm that straddled the Fayette-Jessamine County line. Stepping on the property is like stepping back in time–it is a place where the way of life from 200 years ago can be remembered and explored.

The mansion and grounds were experiencing low water pressure, and the intent of the State was to replace the entire water system with a new one. While not an unusual project, this one came with the larger challenge of minimizing impacts on the site as much as possible. The goal was to leave nothing behind that did not fit the
environment of a typical 19th century central Kentucky farm.

To accomplish this, Bell designed the new water system to be constructed with HDPE pipe. This material allowed for construction to be accomplished through directional bore, minimizing the excavation required. The contractor was able to do just that, and the entire system was replaced through four small bore holes. Because open trenches were not used, the site was quickly restored to its natural state following the completion of construction.

Cumberland Falls is located outside of Corbin, Kentucky. Although the area has been inhabited for thousands of years, the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park was established in 1931. Attracting people from around the world, Cumberland Falls is known as the “Niagara of the South,” with water pouring 65 feet over rocks
estimated to be 250 million years old. While the falls are a sight to see year-round, visitors lucky enough to stop by during certain times throughout the year can witness the coveted moonbow. A moonbow is a natural phenomenon where a rainbow is produced by moonlight, rather than sunlight. Moonbows only occur in two
places in the world, Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, and Victoria Falls in Africa.

Bell Engineering has had the opportunity to complete three projects at the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Two of these involved repairing or installing new railing systems at the falls viewing areas and other work included renovations to the general store and bathhouse.

The Lower Viewing Area project involved the design and construction of structural repairs to the elevated walkway which brings tourists along the cliff-face to two separate viewing areas on the lower side of the falls. The existing railings at the lower viewing areas were dilapidated and there were noticeable structural cracks in the elevated walkways. The existing railings were removed and replaced or repaired to a like-new state as a part of this project. All structural steel was replaced with stainless steel to prevent future corrosion, and the portions of the elevated walkway with structural deficiencies were corrected and new concrete was placed. These improvements provided not only a much-needed face-lift, but also extended the useful life of this portion of the park for years to come.

While the upper viewing area was experiencing many of the same problems and safety concerns as the lower viewing area, it differed in that portions of the upper viewing area actually extend into the Cumberland River just above the falls. Years of flooding had taken a toll on the removable railing system and surrounding stone walls. Bell created a more efficient, custom designed, powder coated aluminum railing system that can be removed and reinstalled in a fraction of the time required by the old system. Bell also designed a new, exposed aggregate concrete walkway that accommodates disabled visitors by providing a closer look at the falls. Absent prior to this project, the installation of this feature will contribute to even more visitors enjoying this natural wonder.

Visit https://www.kentuckyliving.com/explore/refreshing-the-finest to see pictures of the Cumberland Falls projects and find information on other projects accomplished through the “Refreshing the Finest” campaign.