Brent Spence Bridge opens to traffic; repairs completed ahead of schedule

The final inspection of the bridge was completed Monday evening

December 23, 2020 / 2 minute read
Brent Spence Bridge opens to traffic; repairs completed ahead of schedule
Image: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) yesterday 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 I-71 and I-75 over the Ohio River between Covington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, 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.

“We conquered a combination of factors that challenged our ability to complete this project on time, including a global health pandemic and winter weather, and still delivered on our promise to return a safe and sound bridge to the traveling public before the holidays,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said in a statement. “Along with repairing the bridge, we also focused our attention on traffic management to maintain reliable connections for travelers. Ensuring safe roadways is a partnership between KYTC and the public, and I appreciate everyone’s commitment and contribution to keeping our roads safe.”

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; and re-striping new concrete on upper and lower decks.

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 DOT, about plans to build a companion bridge to the west of the existing bridge to increase capacity.

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SOURCE: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

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