Pauley Bridge – Pikeville KY


This 380 foot wire suspension bridge over the Big Sandy River in Pikeville Kentucky was built by the WPA from 1936-1940.

“The design of this bridge is unique, however, because although the bridge itself is simple – the towers are not. The beautiful rough-cut sandstone towers are impressive. Of the 37 wire suspension bridges proposed by the WPA for construction in southeast Kentucky in the late 1930s, only the design of the Pauley Bridge included these sandstone towers.

A WPA project begun in 1936, the bridge was completed and opened to traffic in 1940. In 2000, it was closed to vehicular traffic (2001, all traffic) and it quickly acquired the appearance of an abandoned site. But in 2004, the City of Pikeville set aside funds to restore the historic bridge. In 2006, it was reopened as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

Above the keystones on either tower are engravings bearing the mark of the 1930s construction project: “WPA” and the year construction began “1936.” Thanks to the City of Pikeville, the Pauley Bridge has a new lease on life.”   (

Source notes

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on March 24, 2014.

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Location Info

Pikeville, KY 41501

Coordinates: 37.492868, -82.535577

4 comments on “Pauley Bridge – Pikeville KY

  1. Why was pauley bridge considered “the bridge to nowhere” and it said to have been on Ripley’s believe it or not but i have not found any proof of this.

  2. But why was this bridge named Paulette Bridge?

  3. Robert Pauley

    why is it called Pauley Bridge?

  4. Gary Yarus

    Characterizing this bridge as going nowhere is a bit inaccurate. For me, I crossed this bridge hundreds of times in the 1950s. As a kid, my job was to mow the original Pikeville airport with its 1700-foot runway where my father kept his plane.

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