3:14pm

Fri September 16, 2011
The Commonwealth

Other LOU Bridges in Good Shape

LOUISVILLE – The two bridges that remain open between Louisville and Southern Indiana show no structural problems from the extra traffic they are carrying since the forced closure of the Interstate-64 Sherman Minton Bridge last weekend, Kentucky bridge inspectors have found.

Two crews of inspectors from the Kentucky Department of Highways, led by Chief Bridge Inspector Jeff Sams, this week examined both the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge and the Clark Memorial Bridge and reported “no remarkable findings or changes” from each bridge’s most recent scheduled inspection.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, who ordered the special inspection, said he was gratified but not surprised by the inspectors’ report, according to a Transportation Cabinet press release.

“The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet takes pride in its bridge inspection program, and both of these bridges underwent thorough inspections in recent months. However, I believed it was important for the public to be reassured that they could continue to use the Kennedy and Clark Memorial bridges with confidence in their safety,” Secretary Hancock said.

The Kennedy Memorial and Clark Memorial bridges span the Ohio River between downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind. Both have taken on extra traffic since the Sherman Minton was ordered closed because of the discovery of a crack in a critical section.

Engineers from both Indiana and Kentucky have spent the week testing the Sherman Minton, which had an Average Daily Traffic (ADT) count of 69,587 vehicles in metered testing conducted by the Transportation Cabinet earlier this year. The cabinet recorded ADTs of 121,423 for the Kennedy Memorial Bridge in 2008 and 14,842 for the Clark Memorial Bridge in 2009.

The inspectors, in two teams of four, scaled the Kennedy Memorial Bridge on Wednesday, checking the critical “top chord.” On Thursday, they examined the Clark Memorial from an underside catwalk and the topside deck. Neither inspection revealed any new and adverse structural developments.

Annual inspections were conducted on the Kennedy Memorial Bridge in November 2010 and on the Clark Memorial Bridge in April 2011.