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7/5/2012 8:10:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Construction Closes Several Lanes of Traffic on Bridge Linking Indiana and Louisville, Ky.

By Kari Travis, Special to Transport Topics

This story appears in the July 2 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Construction on the Interstate 65 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge connecting southern Indiana and Louisville, Ky., has shut down several traffic lanes in each direction.

The Ohio River crossing supports nearly 136,000 vehicles per day, with an estimated 17,500 of them commercial trucks. The bridge, which has four northbound lanes but only three southbound lanes, will be reduced to two lanes in both directions through at least the end of July, said Andrea Clifford, a spokeswoman with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Repairs to the bridge will include a new deck surface, expansion joint replacements, concrete patches and waterproof asphalt driving surface.

“For many months, we have fielded complaints about the rough, pitted surface of the Kennedy Bridge,” Matt Bullock, the engineer assigned to the project, said in a statement. “These repairs were originally scheduled for this past spring, but the emergency closure of the I-64 Sherman Minton Bridge forced us to reschedule.”

The Sherman Minton Bridge was closed in September because of a crack in a steel load-carrying joint. The span remained closed for about six months. Both the Sherman Minton Bridge and the Kennedy Bridge are critical junctures in major freight arteries.

The Kentucky Motor Transport Association welcomes the much-needed fixes to the bridge, though truckers traveling through the region will face temporary challenges, association President Jamie Fiepke said.

“Anytime a major interstate goes through a construction period, it is going to create problems,” Fiepke said. “Trucking companies will make the necessary adjustments in timing and routing. Local companies will be able to adapt quicker than the carriers from outside the region.”

Detour routes may include the Sherman Minton or Second Street bridges for local freight carriers, while out-of-town truckers may bypass the area by driving through Cincinnati or by taking other river crossings, Fiepke said.

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