Major Blue Bridge closures begin this week - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Major overnight Blue Bridge closures begin this week

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OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) -

Prep work for painting the Ohio River "Blue Bridge" in Owensboro is now underway.

The contractor is allowed to close the bridge from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, for rigging work to secure containment tarps that will go up when the main cleaning and painting work starts after Owensboro's International Bar-B-Que Festival in May.

Kevin McClearn, chief district engineer for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 2, in Madisonville, said the contractor has planned an aggressive schedule with two crews.

"Our contractor will be working 10 to 12 hours a day, sometimes seven days a week, in an effort to complete the main truss in one construction season," McClearn said. "The contractor will use the overnight closures starting April 21 to place rigging on the bridge and prepare for placement of equipment so work can ramp up as soon as the bridge is closed to all traffic on May 13."

The decision to close the bridge entirely for a single season, rather than closing one lane at a time over two seasons, was partly in consideration of trucks and farm equipment, which would have been banned with one-lane traffic.

"Closing the Blue Bridge adds about 10 miles to a commute from Reo, Indiana, to downtown Owensboro. We know this is going to be an inconvenience for commuters and truck traffic, but enduring a six-month closure of the bridge was deemed the best choice when compared to one-lane, limited traffic for two construction seasons," McClearn said. "We want everyone to be prepared for the overnight closures starting April 21 and the full closure starting May 13."

The Blue Bridge – the formal name is the Glover Cary Bridge and the KY 2262 Ohio River Bridge– will be open with no lane restrictions the weekend of Owensboro's International Bar-B-Que Festival. However, the contractor can schedule lane restrictions and overnight closures before then to prepare for work to start immediately after the festival.

The painting contract calls for the bridge to be closed to all traffic from about May 13 through Nov. 15. Work on approach spans can be completed from beneath the bridge with only minor traffic disruptions.

Spartan Contracting, LLC, of Ohio, is the prime contractor on the $10,070,000 painting project, which is jointly funded by Kentucky and Indiana.

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