Blue Bridge to be open before Thanksgiving holiday - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Blue Bridge expected to open before Thanksgiving holiday

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OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) -

The KY 2262/IN Route 161 Ohio River "Blue" Bridge in downtown Owensboro is expected to reopen to traffic Nov. 27, in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday. 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers have worked with Spartan Contracting over the last week to determine the amount of work remaining to complete painting of the bridge so a specific opening date could be set.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn said the Nov. 27 opening is reasonable based on the remaining work.

"This is just 12 days beyond the original expected opening on Nov. 15.  This allows all work to be completed this year and gets the bridge open in time for Thanksgiving holiday traffic," McClearn said.  "Since we announced the closure was being extended, we've worked closely with the contractor to set an opening date.  We're confident the touch-up and other finish work can be completed by November 27th."

McClearn noted that some work will likely continue under the Indiana end of the bridge after that date, but the contractor is confident all painting can be finished this year, completing the project more than 11 months ahead of schedule.

"We're very pleased this will complete the project ahead of schedule and remove the need for traffic disruptions next year," McClearn said.

The contractor brought in extra crews this fall to complete the two-year project in one construction season.  Over the last few months, KYTC inspectors had asked for an extra $150,000 in needed repairs to a number of beams and joints.  They also ordered additional concrete repairs on older sections of the bridge deck.

The bridge has been closed for painting since May 13.  Engineers were unable to provide a specific opening date when they extending the closure beyond Nov. 15 almost two weeks ago.  Within a few days of the Nov. 27 opening date, McClearn said the contractor should be able to provide an approximate time it will open.

Spartan Contracting, LLC, of Ohio, is the prime contractor on the $10.07 million painting project.

The project is jointly funded by Kentucky and Indiana. 

Originally scheduled for painting in 2017, local lawmakers advanced funding for the painting project in the Kentucky road plan. 

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDot) agreed to expedite its share of the funding to put the project on track for the 2013-2014 construction seasons.

The Blue Bridge, at Ohio River navigation mile point 756.3, is a 4,622-foot structure that connects KY 2262 and Indiana State Route 161 over the Ohio River at Owensboro.
 
About 8,500 vehicles use the bridge in an average day.  Trucks account for about 15 percent of that traffic.  The structure opened to traffic in September 1940.

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