11:06am

Sun February 19, 2012
The Commonwealth

Sherman Minton Bridge Reopens Early

The I-64 Sherman Minton Bridge over the Ohio River between Southern Indiana and Louisville reopened to traffic just before midnight Friday. “Thanks to the workers, contractors, and the people of INDOT, the Sherman Minton Bridge is back in operation, 12 days ahead of the target date. We’ve never been happier to pay a contractor incentive dollars for an ahead-of-schedule performance.And thanks also to all the citizens who endured so much inconvenience in order to make 100 percent sure that no one was ever put at risk,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a statement.

Incentives, favorable weather conditions and efficient work by contractors reduced repairs from an estimated six months to less than four months. It is anticipated that Hall Contracting of Louisville will receive $1.3 million in incentives for reopening the bridge to traffic early.

“It’s a relief to have the Sherman Minton Bridge restored and reopened, ready to safely carry thousands of commuters each day. Kentuckians and Hoosiers have shown outstanding patience and cooperation during the repair process, and I applaud Louisville-based Hall Contracting for completing this massive project early. The bridge is a vital route for commerce for both of our states, and we welcome its return,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said.

Although the bridge has reopened, construction has not yet been completed. Subcontractors will still need to finish painting the new steel plates and remove working platforms attached to the bridge. During off-peak hours, one lane of eastbound I-64 will be temporarily closed on the lower deck of the bridge entering Louisville from New Albany. All lanes will be open each weekday morning for peak traffic between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Temperature-sensitive painting operations will occur during 30 work days as weather permits this winter and spring.

The Sherman Minton Bridge was closed Sept. 9 after a significant crack was discovered in a load-carrying element of the bridge. Extensive inspection, testing and analysis recommended reinforcing the bridge with steel plates, which is anticipated to extend the service life of the bridge at least 20 years.