The U.S. 45 Ohio River Brookport Bridge will remain closed until late fall as an ongoing bridge maintenance and repair project requires additional work.
The existing 30-day closure has been extended until approximately Nov. 1 to allow for additional repairs Kentucky Transportation Cabinet inspectors deemed necessary to maintain the bridge.
While maintenance and repair work has been ongoing, the contractor and inspectors performed an additional study of the bridge piers and determined a widening of 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 will become about a 6-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 initially closed to vehicles on 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 some additional work would be required. Meanwhile, the contractor has continued making progress on the original maintenance and repair list.
"The additional work required about two weeks for some steel fabrication," Poat noted. "The contractor has been making substantial progress in other areas while that steel work was completed."
Motorists who normally travel the bridge between Kentucky and Illinois should continue to detour via the Interstate 24 Ohio River Bridge.
Most commercial trucks are prohibited from crossing the bridge due to an 8-foot maximum load width restriction.
Poat indicated KYTC is continuing 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," Poat said. "Extending the closure to allow the extra work will give us time to work on some strategies."
Judy C. Harp Co. Inc. is the prime contractor on the original $183,902 bridge maintenance and repair project. Along with concrete pier cap repairs and bearing work, the existing contract includes repairs to the bridge's grated metal decking.