The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) announced the end of a six-week emergency repair project to restore and reopen the Brent Spence Bridge one day ahead of the scheduled completion date.
The Brent Spence Bridge, which carries Interstates 71 and 75 over the Ohio River between Covington, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, closed on Nov. 11, 2020, due to a crash and fire involving two commercial vehicles. Multiple safety inspections took place throughout the course of the repair project; the final inspection was completed Monday evening, paving the way for the gradual
reopening of the bridge and the travel lanes and ramps that support access to it.
KYTC assembled extraordinary talent to work with deliberate speed to reopen the bridge An assessment of damage to the bridge began as soon as inspectors could safely access the site. A team of more than 20 national and local bridge inspectors surveyed the entire, two-deck span and conducted tests to ensure the structure’s integrity was not compromised. Less than a week after the closure, KYTC awarded a $3.1 million contract to prime contractor, Kokosing Construction Co., of Westerville, Ohio, with a target reopening date of Dec. 23.
Repairs to the bridge included:
- Replacing 16 steel beams that were damaged by the fire
- Pouring new upper deck driving surface and concrete barrier wall
- Pouring new layer of concrete on lower deck and new concrete barrier wall
- Removing and installing drainage system
- Installing new overhead lights
- Restriping new concrete on upper and lower decks
The Brent Spence Bridge is structurally sound and is part of the region’s long-terminfrastructure plan; a new companion bridge is needed to support additional capacity.
The Brent Spence Bridge, which was designed to carry 80,000 to 100,000 vehicles per day, now carries approximately twice that across the Ohio River. Discussions continue between KYTC and its partner agency, the Ohio Department of Transportation, about plans to build a companion bridge to the west of the existing bridge to increase capacity. Given the expectation that the existing bridge will remain in service for many years to come, ensuring the long-term safety of the bridge and the routes leading to and from it is of increased significance.
The U.S. Department of Transportation authorized up to $12 million in emergency relief reimbursement funding for the repair project, but Secretary Gray said the final expenses likely will be as little as half that amount.
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