The U.S. Department of Transportation says fixing the Sherman Minton Bridge is a top priority.
The announcement was made on Friday that the bridge would not have to be replaced. But that doesn’t answer the question of when the bridge could reopen or who would have to pay for the repairs, said officials.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was joined by several local and state politicians including Sen. Rand Paul, Congressman John Yarmuth, Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. The team toured the bridge on Friday afternoon and was advised that the crack that caused the closure has been fixed. But officials will have to wait for a full inspection to be complete before deciding next actions for the bridge, and if and when the U.S. government will step in, said LaHood.
“This bridge is not safe. It will not be safe until it is fully inspected–until we fix it. One crack has been repaired. We want to make sure that before anybody rides on this bridge again, drives a car on the bridge, drives a truck on the bridge, it’s 100 percent safe,” said LaHood.
The crack that caused the closure has been around since the bridge opened in 1962, said Beshear. Previously, Indiana Department of Transportation said it has monitored the crack and made the decision to close the bridge when the crack reached a certain threshold.
LaHood said that the U.S. Government would help fix the bridge if it requires government intervention, but would not go into how it would help and to what extent. A full inspection of the bridge is needed first, he said.
Beshear said he expects the inspection to be complete in a couple weeks.