Bat Bridge

“Bridging Kentucky” is a statewide venture to rehabilitate, repair and replace bridges.

In 2018, the team discovered a large population of gray bats roosting under
a decrepit Box Beam Bridge in Frankfort.

The gray bat is endangered and an important part of a healthy eco-system.
They play an important role as the primary controllers of night-flying aquatic insects, including mosquitos.

Lack of habit largely contributes to their plight, as they typically live in
very large numbers in only a few caves.

The bridge team recognized an opportunity to help this critical creature.
They worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, ecologists and engineers,
to design a bat-friendly structure.

The expanded gaps in the concrete that had resulted from decades of decay would now be intentionally incorporated into the new design.

Construction was completed in March of 2021 and in June, the team gathered
at the new bridge, to see if the bats would return.

They counted over 400 bats, including bat pups, a sign that it was home to a maternity colony. By September they estimated that over eleven hundred bats were using the bridge.

It’s the first bridge in Kentucky designed specifically for animal habitat
and it sets a precedent for more intentional animal-friendly constructions
of all kinds in the future.