‘There will be no cutting corners’ on Brent Spence Bridge project, KY transportation secretary says

KY transportation officials provide update on Brent Spence Bridge

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said there will be no cutting corners on the Brent Spence Bridge project.

The bridge has been shut down since a fiery crash involving two trucks on Wednesday, Nov 11.

One of the trucks was hauling potassium hydroxide and an unknown amount of diesel fuel.

The lengthy fire damaged the upper deck of the bridge, which connects downtown Cincinnati and Covington over the Ohio River and holds the southbound lanes of Interstate 71/75.

Steel beams were delivered Tuesday to Frankfort, Kentucky, where Bottoms Engineering & Services president Drew Thompson said fabrication will take place before going to the construction site.

Gray said when possible crews will work around the clock to make repairs.

Demolition of portions of the concrete and steel that will be replaced will begin Friday, Nov. 20.

The bridge carries about 160,000 vehicles per day. The secretary said the bridge itself is safe as ever but there is an awareness of the issue associated with the capacity.

“Safety is job number one,” he said. “There will be no cutting corners on this project.”

Needed repairs to the bridge will include the replacement of a section of the upper concrete deck, plus steel beams known as stringers that support the deck weight.

A section of the lower deck will be milled out and filled with new concrete but does not require complete replacement.

Gray also issued an order to alleviate congestion on streets with the closure of the bridge prohibiting commercial traffic from using local roads.

Northbound commercial vehicles are directed to detour onto I-275 however, Gray says, some drivers continue north on I-71/75 into downtown Covington.

The order empowers law enforcement to stop commercial vehicles from bypassing the detour.

Violators may be ticketed but Gray said, “we’re not looking for penalties. We’re looking for cooperation.”

Fixing the bridge will cost about $3.1 million and take until Dec. 23, Kentucky state transportation officials say.

The bridge will remain closed in the meantime.

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