PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - The US 45 Ohio River “Brookport” Bridge will stay closed until November 1.
On Wednesday, June 5, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced the closure was extended again.
While maintenance and repair has been ongoing, KYTC said the contractor and inspectors performed an additional study of the bridge piers and determined a widening of the concrete repairs will be required on one pier, along with the addition of concrete repairs on two other piers.
“Our bridge engineers worked closely with the contractor to extend the scope of the original maintenance and repair list,” KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat said. “Accommodating that extra work means what we had hoped would be about a 30-day closure would become about a six-month closure. We understand the inconvenience to commuters, but adding these needed repairs to an existing project ensures we’re addressing key repair items as efficiently as possible."
The bridge was first closed to vehicles on Wednesday, May 8 when illegal truck traffic created safety issues for workers. The closure was extended to up to 30 days when the contractor and inspectors determined that more work would be required.
“The additional work required about two weeks for some steel fabrication,” Poat said. “The contractor has been making substantial progress in other areas while that steel work was completed.”
Drivers who normally take the US 45 Ohio River “Brookport” Bridge between Kentucky and Illinois should detour via the Interstate 24 Ohio River Bridge until further notice.
According to KYTC, the bridge is restricted to vehicles no more than 8-feet wide, which prohibits most commercial trucks from crossing.
They say the contractor had a number of issues with trucks wider than that crossing the bridge and driving through the work zone, which created safety issues for workers involved in the bridge maintenance and repair.
Poat said KYTC will continue to evaluate ways to take a more aggressive approach to excluding illegal commercial trucks from the 90-year-old structure.
“We’re continuing to work with law enforcement to find better ways to enforce the load width restriction,” he said. “Extending the closure to allow the extra work will give us time to work on some strategies.”
The original project would cost $183,902. With additional repairs and maintenance added to the project, it now has a target completion date of Nov. 1, 2019. Along with concrete pier cap repairs and bearing work, the existing contract includes repairs to the bridge’s grated metal decking.
The 10-span bridge, also known as the Cobb Bridge, carries about 5,000 vehicles across the river each day between Paducah, Ky. and Brookport, Ill. It originally opened to traffic in 1929.