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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Brent Spence Bridge Repair on Track for Planned Completion

An aerial view, taken by drone, of the repairs underway on the Brent Spence Bridge, on schedule to be completed December 23.
 
 by Robin Gee

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Chief Jim Gray held a press conference to mark the official halfway point today with 21 days in on repairs to the Brent Spence Bridge. He said things are on track for the completion target date of December 23 in 21 days from now.

He started by thanking his staff, the engineers and construction crews from the Kokosing Construction Company, praising all involved in the repairs, as well as his team working on traffic management and rerouting issues.

The focus has been on the upper deck of the bridge, and right now the 16 steel beams supporting it have been set in place. He noted that the steel for the beams was sourced from four states, taken to Lexington where they were cut, shaped and painted for the job.  
 
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Update: Progress as planned

 
Crews are preparing the upper deck now to receive a new concrete surface. Pans are being installed and metal rods will be put in place before the concrete pour. That is not all the concrete work, Gray said. The next step will be to replace all the concrete barrier walls on both sides of the deck.

In the next phase, crews will turn their attention to the lower deck, which received much less damage from the truck crash and fire November 11. The surface of the lower level will be milled to provide a connective surface for a new layer of concrete and then new barriers will be added to the lower deck area as well.

The final part will be the painting and marking of new traffic lines.

When asked if the possibility of cold weather could affect the curing of the concrete, Gray said crews are prepared for that and have warming equipment on hand, but he did not anticipate local weather conditions to be a problem over the coming few weeks. 
 
A look at the repairs underway on the surface of the Brent Spence Bridge

 
Construction crews have been working 'round the clock to install 16 new steel beams on the Brent Spence Bridge.

The next step in repairs will be to pour a new slab. Before concrete can be poured, metal rods will be inserted to support the new concrete slab.

The message on traffic: Patience is a virtue


Gray noted a main issue has been and remains the maintenance of traffic for the 160,000-plus vehicles that have had to rerouted while the bridge is undergoing repairs.

"As you know, I-71 and I-75 merged traffic heading north through the region as directed by a signage detour onto I-275. From there, drivers can take alternate crossings across the Ohio River — the Dan Beard Bridge on I-471 or the Combs-Hehl Bridge on I-275. If you need to get into downtown Covington, you can stay on I-71 and 75 going past the detour, and there’s a single-traffic lane, a local lane open so that local traffic passenger vehicles can reach the 12th Street or the Fifth Street exits."

Chief District Engineer Bob Yeager fielded questions about traffic issues, which continue to create issues of congestion especially during rush hour. His final plea was for all to have patience, plan their routes and pay attention to possible changes along the way.

Gray urged patience as well and ended his report with an assurance that no corners have been cut and that he is confident in the work being done. He added that his department is examining all that has happened, and he anticipated there may be opportunities for changes and new ideas as a result of the incident. 
 
Follow along on news about the bridge repairs on the Brent Spence Repair website set up by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

RELATED: Gov. Beshear: Brent Spence Bridge May Be Closed for Weeks

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