OWENSBORO, Ky. (4/16/13) – Prep work for painting the Ohio River “Blue Bridge” in Owensboro will kick off Sunday night, April 21, with the start of overnight closures running Sunday through Thursday.
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 7 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 21st 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, Ind., 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 without 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.
The Blue Bridge was originally scheduled for painting in 2017. Last Dec. 19, Gov. Steve Beshear announced that the project would be fast-tracked to complement local efforts to redevelop and revitalize Owensboro’s vibrant riverfront.
The Blue Bridge is 4,622 feet long. It connects Ky. Hwy. 2262 and Indiana State Route 161 over the Ohio River at Owensboro. Approximately 8,500 vehicles cross the Ohio River on the Blue Bridge between Kentucky and Indiana in an average day. Trucks account for about 15 percent of that traffic. The structure opened to traffic in September 1940 as a toll bridge. Tolls were discontinued in 1954.
The Blue Bridge is at Ohio River navigation mile point 756.3.
Information provided by Keith Todd
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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