Frankfort Local News

Kentucky House Reignites Bridge Tolling Debate

The prospect of bridge tolls is once again dominating the discussion of an infrastructure bill in the Kentucky General Assembly.

The House Budget Committee passed a road plan funding bill today. But before voting, lawmakers questioned the need for tolls on bridges in Louisville and Northern Kentucky.

Committee members asked whether the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville would be tolled to help fund new spans downtown and in the city’s east end. Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says that was discussed, but it’s unlikely.

Local News

Bridge Reopening Clears Way for Kentucky Road Improvement Projects

The reopening of the Sherman Minton Bridge over the weekend means two major Kentucky Transportation Cabinet improvement projects will move forward this summer.

The cabinet’s Andrea Clifford says the state is advertising for a contract for deck repairs on the Kennedy Bridge, but the work won’t begin until after Memorial Day.

“We’ll also be able to resume resurfacing and bridge deck work on Interstate-71 as you approach downtown Louisville. That project had to be postponed this fall because Interstate-71 was the detour route to I-65 during the closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge,” she said.

The cabinet suspended the work when the Sherman Minton Bridge was shut down by Governor Mitch Daniels when inspectors found a crack in a support beam.

It was reopened late Friday night after more than five months of repair work.

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Final Preparations Made for Bridge Reopening

Preparations are being made on the Kentucky side of the Sherman Minton Bridge for its reopening, which, according to one report, could occur as early as midnight tonight.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Andrea Clifford says crews removed concrete barriers that were put into place to block access to the bridge from westbound I-64.

“We’ll have orange cones there and KYTC staff in place to keep those approaches closed, until such time that Indiana DOT reopens the Sherman Minton Bridge. We’re going to keep staff people there because we don’t motorists getting out and moving the cones and barrels and such and deciding to drive up on the approach to take a look around for themselves,” she said.

Workers also removed barriers at the I-64 westbound interchange with I-65, which was shut down to aid traffic flow. The entrance ramp from Story Avenue to westbound I-64 has also been reopened.
The Indiana Department of Transportation said last week that the Sherman Minton Bridge could reopen sometime next week. WDRB-TV reports that the span will begin taking on traffic again at midnight tonight, but an Indiana Department of Transporation spokesman told WFPL he had no information to confirm the report.

The bridge was closed in early September when inspectors discovered a crack in a support beam.

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INDOT: Sherman Minton Bridge Could Reopen a Week Early

The Indiana Department of Transportation says the Sherman Minton Bridge could reopen about a week earlier than the original March 1 deadline.

Workers are nearly finished installing steel reinforcement plates on the 50 year old bridge. The span has been closed since September 9, when a crack was discovered in a load-bearing support beam.

Officials say striping crews will be out this week restoring ramp configurations along the detour routes.

The Sherman Minton Bridge reinforcement work is being conducted by Louisville-based Hall Contracting.

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Sherman Minton Repairs Continue; KTC Won’t Replace Kennedy Bridge Lane Posts

A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials says the Kennedy and Clark Memorial Bridges have been holding up well under a heavier traffic load caused by the September closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge.

Matt Bullock also disclosed today that the cabinet will no longer replace the delineator posts that were knocked down along the southbound lanes of the Kennedy at the I-64-71 exit.

The posts were installed this month to prevent motorists from making a last-second lane change and tying up traffic, but more than a dozen have been run over.

Local News Politics

Sherman Minton Bridge Fix at Midpoint

Repairs on the closed Sherman Minton Bridge are halfway complete, and officials say the job is running slightly ahead of schedule.

Crews are working 12 hours a day, seven days a week to fasten more steel to reinforce the bridge. The heavily traveled span along Interstate 64 was closed Sept. 9 after a crack was found in a steel support beam.

Greg Prince with the Indiana Department of Transportation says crews are currently reinforcing the exterior portion of the bridge’s load-bearing beams.

“Once that’s complete, then their attention will move into the inside of those tie girders, where the work is a little more complex due to the lateral bracing that’s underneath the bridge,” he said.

The contractor for the project says workers won’t meet a Jan. 27 deadline to secure a $1 million incentive offered by the Horseshoe Foundation.

The job is officially scheduled for completion on March 2.

(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press; file photo by Erica Peterson)

Local News

Sherman Minton Bridge Repair Work Remains On Schedule

Transportation officials say they expect the first load of steel reinforcements to arrive next week for installation on the Sherman Minton Bridge.

The bridge has been shut down since early September, when inspectors discovered a crack in a load-bearing support beam.

Will Wingfield with the Indiana Department of Transportation says workers from Hall Contracting are now preparing the bridge for the installation of the steel plating.

Local News

Officials Expect Traffic Backup on Bridges on Thanksgiving

The Indiana Department of Transportation is expecting significant traffic problems on the Kennedy Bridge due to Thanksgiving-related travel.

With the Sherman Minton Bridge closed, projections show traffic backing up for miles on I-65 southbound at the bridge during Thanksgiving Day. Northbound traffic should be about the same as it usually is.

The problem could be further compounded by the number of drivers on the road who are unfamiliar with the bridge closure and detours.

Repairs on the Sherman Minton Bridge are underway and should be complete by March.

Local News Politics

Bridge Closure Affecting Casino Receipts, Philanthropy

From the Associated Press

The shutdown of the Sherman Minton Bridge has reduced profit-sharing revenues paid by a southern Indiana casino to two counties and will delay officials from paying $8 million to a foundation.

Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino paid Harrison and Floyd counties a combined $1.1 million from August’s receipts. The Courier-Journal reports the total payment for September dropped 13 percent to about $985,000.

Officials anticipated the casino payments would decline after the Sept. 9 shutdown of the bridge.

They also had anticipated replenishing the Harrison County Community Foundation fund by this month following an $8 million grant to a local hospital, but they now say that will likely take until January.

Repairs to the Sherman Minton Bridge are expected to be completed by early March.

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Early Repair Work Underway On Sherman Minton Bridge

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say preliminary work has begun on Sherman Minton Bridge repair project.

The project’s contractor has pledged to have the span re-opened by early March.

The Sherman Minton Bridge was shut down September 9 after a crack was discovered in a load-bearing support.

Last-month, Louisville-based Hall Contracting won the bid to reinforce the span. Some 2.4 million pounds of steel are being cast for the project, and Hall is installing platforms that will allow crews to work under the bridge.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says the countdown for Hall to complete the work began more than two weeks ago.

“The clock is ticking, and there’s severe pressure on Hall Contracting to get the work done. Not only in terms of damages that they would be liable for ($100,000 per day) if they don’t meet that 135 day schedule, but also the incentives of $100,000 per day. That is to my knowledge the highest incentives that INDOT has ever put on a contract,” Wingfield said.

Hall Contracting says it can have the project completed by March 2nd, if weather permits, at a total cost of $13.9 million.

(Photo by Erica Peterson)