Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 21, 2007

Burnside ramp up and running

Fletcher’s staff, cabinet members, are on hand to assess progress

The ramp at General Burnside Island State Park will be ready to launch any type of boat by this afternoon.

Members of Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s staff and officials of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet gathered at the Burnside state park ramp yesterday morning to view temporary work that has been done to extend the ramp into the diminished waters of Lake Cumberland.

Most of the boat ramps along the lake were left high and dry when the water was lowered to 43 feet below the tree line for the remainder of this year to ease pressure on Wolf Creek Dam. The dam is leaking and has been classified as a “high risk” of failure.

Bruce Neely, District 8 maintenance engineer for the Department of Highways, said the Burnside state park ramp was put back in operation at the direction of Governor Fletcher because of its importance to the local houseboat industry and recreational boats used by fishermen who enjoy the lake at this time of year.

The temporary work to make the ramp operational was done quickly, Neely noted. Conley Gregory Construction Company, Monticello, was contacted Thursday afternoon and the firm worked Friday, Saturday and Monday on the project. Finishing touches were being done to the ramp extension yesterday and Neely said it would be usable by Wednesday (this) afternoon “ ... if not earlier.” He explained that the Monticello company has a “price contract” with the Department of Highways and has equipment, including a trackhoe with an extended boom “ ... that we don’t have.”

Despite the fast work, extending the ramp was a mammoth undertaking. Neely said 10,000 tons of rock were needed to create a “ ... stable rock roadbed on the same grade as the existing ramp.” He indicated additional rock may be applied to the surface of the extended ramp.

The water at the end of the ramp extension is 10 feet deep, sufficiently deep to launch any type of watercraft, including a houseboat. Neely said several houseboats are waiting to be launched.

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