Sherman Minton Bridge Reopens to Ind., Ky.

Fri March 02, 2012 - Midwest Edition
Jennifer Rupp

The main span of the Sherman Minton Bridge is 1,600 ft. (487 m)
The main span of the Sherman Minton Bridge is 1,600 ft. (487 m)
The main span of the Sherman Minton Bridge is 1,600 ft. (487 m) Crews constructed an enclosed working platform along the upstream tie girder/load carrying beam to perform repairs. Hall Contracting of Kentucky demonstrates the drilling of holes for new bolt placement.

“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,” said Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) .

The Sherman Minton Bridge, which spans the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky, was closed Sept. 9, 2011, after a significant crack was discovered in a load-carrying element of the bridge.

According to a recent bridge inspection performed by INDOT, “The underside of the upper level deck is showing signs of deterioration, with areas having many transverse cracks with salt leaching out. Areas of the underside of the deck have the ’wet look,’ which indicates that the lower section of the deck (below the bottom mat of reinforcing) is saturated with chlorides and could begin to spall off and fall down onto the EBL traffic lanes.”

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. The bridge was built in 1961.

Hall Contracting of (Louisville) Kentucky Inc. received the Notice to Proceed on Oct. 19, 2011, after being awarded the $13.9 million contract.

Kentucky and Indiana are splitting the cost among traditional state and federal transportation resources.

The double-decker bridge was closed to traffic for 122 days. It re-opened on Feb. 18, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.

During the closure, I-64 was detoured over I-265 and I-65 in southern Indiana. There was a considerable amount of congestion on the other two Louisville-area Ohio River Bridges due to the closure, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. Prior to the closure, the Sherman Minton Bridge carried more than 70,000 vehicle trips on an average day.

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 will receive $1.3 million in incentives for reopening the bridge to traffic early. Crews worked 12 hour shifts — 7 days a week, and took on additional shifts as needed.

The main focus of the project was the placement of new steel plating on the tie chords/load-carrying beams. Hall Contracting performed all structural steel installation, including hanging, drilling and bolting. Hall used a variety of skid steers, forklifts and cranes. An estimated 2.4 million pounds of steel was used to reinforce the bridge.

Peyton’s Barricade& Sign Company of Jeffersonville, Ind., is handling Maintenance of Traffic (M.O.T.), and Eagle Contracting of Louisville, Ky., was subcontracted for sandblasting and priming the beams.

Although the bridge has reopened, construction has not yet been completed. Eagle will finish painting the new steel plates this spring, and crews will 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 entire project will be complete by June 13 of this year.

“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,” said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. CEG

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