Lanes to reopen, truck ban lifted on I-275 Ohio River bridges

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY - Field testing, inspections, and repair work on the Combs-Hehl twin bridges in northern Kentucky have advanced to the point that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinetwill reopen all traffic lanes Wednesday afternoon and restore the normal weight limit for trucks.

The three-lane bridges carry Interstate 275 over the Ohio River, five miles east of Cincinnati. One lane of each bridge was closed on Sept. 29 to accommodate engineering teams conducting inspections, metal testing and repair work. In addition, the weight limit was reduced to 3 tons on the eastbound span, which carries traffic from Kentucky into Ohio.

Oversize-overweight loads were prohibited on both bridges by agreement of KYTC, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, and that type of traffic will continue to be rerouted.

KYTC and its partner agencies have been working to ensure the safety of the Combs-Hehl since cracks in some steel plates were discovered a year ago. Crews replaced four plates on the eastbound bridge during the weekend of December 13th and 14th. That followed replacement of three plates on the westbound bridge in June. In all cases, the original plates were properly designed, but the steel was not tempered to specification.

Ten more plates (seven plates on the westbound bridge and three plates on the eastbound bridge) have been identified for replacement in the spring or summer of 2009. Oversize-overweight loads will be rerouted until that work is completed, but no further lane closures are expected.