COVINGTON, Ky. (FOX19) - The Brent Spence Bridge closure might last a while, transportation officials announced Thursday.
It could last anywhere from a few weeks to a month, maybe even longer, according to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray.
With the repairs expected to take a long time, drivers should prepare now for the disruption in traffic, he added.
The bridge was shut down on Wednesday after a fiery truck crash.
Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday he knows how vital the bridge is, but it will not reopen until he would feel safe driving his family across.
“We know how important this bridge is to the region and to the commerce of our nation. Our commitment is to open it as quickly as we can, but we will only do that if it is safe to cross. I will not open it, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will not open it, until I would drive my family across it.”
Twenty inspectors were able to begin the damage assessment Thursday after crews cleared the debris from the crash.
“We are taking vigorous steps with the most talented engineers in order to assess the damage and get the bridge reopened to traffic,” Secretary Gray said. “But we know under fully the best case, we have repairs that will take weeks to execute. So, it is important that our businesses, our commercial traffic and residents prepare for this.”
Gov. Beshear said the detailed inspection is likely to take several days.
University of Cincinnati Structural Engineering Associate Professor G.A. Rassati says the first step is following the inspection protocol for each aspect of the bridge to determine its status.
It won’t be an easy step though, he explained.
“It’s going to be complicated because this happened on the lower deck, so they’ll have to look at both decks," Rassati said. "So, it’s not going to be very quick I presume.”
The potential repair cost for the Brent Spence Bridge is still unknown, according to Gray.
A local state of emergency has been declared in Kenton County with the Brent Spence Bridge indefinitely closed.
The Brent Spence Bridge isn’t the only bridge closed in the Tri-State.
The John A. Roebling suspension bridge was shut down late Wednesday because city officials say semis were violating its weight limits.
Early Thursday, the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge closed for structural inspection.
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