Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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June 7, 2013

Highway department eyeing bridge repair completion July 31

ASHLAND — Transportation officials have drafted plans for repairs to the damaged 12th Street bridge and are soliciting bids now, a spokesman said Friday.

The bids will be opened Friday and once the department chooses a contractor it will fast-track the repair with a goal of completing the project by July 31.

That means the project is a priority and will be completed ahead of some other repairs already on the department’s schedule.

The green bridge, which carries traffic across the Ohio River from Coal Grove to Ashand, was damaged last month when an unknown vehicle hit it on the Ohio approach span.

Engineers decided the bridge could not safely carry traffic and closed it May 20.

The repair will be tricky because the span is a “working bridge,” Blair said. That means it is supporting its own weight and the damaged beam in under compression. Repair workers will have to stabilize the compression forces on the bridge and on the replacement beam during installation, he said.

During the repair, temporary changes in traffic patterns will continue.

All 12th Street bridge traffic will remain rerouted using the converted 13th Street bridge, which now has one lane for Ohio to Kentucky travelers and two lanes from Kentucky to Ohio.

Traffic on US 52 in Ohio can take the Ashland exit, turn right onto the 13th Street bridge and follow cone-marked lanes to US 23-Winchester Avenue where all traffic must turn right. Northbound US 23 vehicles can continue straight, and southbound US 23 traffic can take the truck detour using Greenup Avenue.

 Southbound traffic on US 23-Winchester Avenue is restricted to one left-turn lane onto the 13th Street bridge. (The dedicated left-turn lane has been eliminated to give incoming traffic more room.) Two lanes carry traffic across the bridge to access US 52 toward either Ironton or South Point.

Northbound US 23-Winchester Avenue traffic can turn right onto the 13th Street bridge as normal. And, 13th Street traffic can proceed along normal routes.

Traffic engineers have adjusted traffic signal timings where possible to enhance traffic flow. However, with one bridge handling the traffic of two bridges, motorists should expect delays and backups. Traffic traveling through Ashland to reach I-64 or US 23 may consider using the 17th Street bridge from Chesapeake to West Huntington to I-64 to reach US 23 at Catlettsburg, or the Greenup Locks and Dam bridge to US 23 and the Industrial Parkway to reach I-64 just west of Grayson.

To keep the public up to date with repair plans, the Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 has established a web page with detailed traffic maps, current bridge status, a project timeline and other information.

 The public may access the web page at Transportation.ky.gov/District-9/Pages/Ashland-Bridges.aspx, or at Transportation.ky.gov/District-9 by clicking “Ashland Bridges.”

 In addition, motorists may follow District 9 on Facebook at Facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9 or Twitter at Twitter.com/KYTCDistrict9 for updated Ashland bridges information as well as traffic and state highway project information across northeast Kentucky.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

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