Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s a curve ball in the plans to reopen the Blue Bridge. It’s not going to happen on schedule and here’s why . . .
From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet:
The KY 2262/IN Route 161 Ohio River Bridge – the “Blue Bridge” — in downtown Owensboro will remain closed beyond the expected Nov. 15 opening date. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn said pushing back the opening a few weeks may disappoint some commuters, but it comes with an upside.
McClearn says, “By allowing our contractor to continue painting work an extra few weeks now, we are confident little or no additional traffic disruptions will be required next year.”
The contractor brought in extra crews this fall in an attempt to complete the 2-year project on just one construction season. Over the last few months, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet inspectors had asked for an extra $150,000 in needed repairs to a number of beams and joints. They also ordered additional concrete repairs on older sections of the bridge. Even with that work, the contractor is running about six months ahead of schedule, likely eliminating the need for lane restrictions in 2014.
McClearn noted that work is now focused on inspecting the paint and finishing out required touch-up work on the main truss. The contractor can then complete any additional touch-up work on the approach spans from underneath with minimal or no traffic disruptions.
“We think giving the contractor a few more weeks now, as long as temperatures are adequate to allow painting, we will virtually eliminate the need for restrictions on the bridge next year,” McClearn added. “We just need a few weeks of warm temperatures and no rain.”
The bridge has been closed for painting since May 13th. And Transportation Cabinet Public Information Officer Keith Todd says determining a date when the bridge will open is going to be highly dependent on the weather and temperatures over the next couple of weeks.
In other words . . . UGH!!! Keep your fingers crossed that Mother Nature cooperates!
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