The bridge that carries traffic on I-71 and I-75 across the Ohio River between Covington and Cincinnati was closed after two commercial vehicles collided and caught fire at around 2:45 a.m., resulting in a long detour on the busy route led between Kentucky and Ohio.
Traffic will be diverted at the I-275 junction, although a lane north to Covington is open to passenger cars and trucks making local deliveries to Covington.
During a virtual press conference Wednesday, Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said the project was still on track.
“Our plan includes challenges that the weather might pose. However, we were fortunate that the weather suited our schedule very well. “
One of the advances this week is closing the opening on the upper deck, according to Gray. “This opening was where the fire was most intense, where we had to remove the steel girders damaged by the fire, about 7,000 square feet. That was done, and the support beams, steel girders and the metal deck on which the concrete for the driveway is poured. “
He says two layers of rebar or rebar were installed this week that will reinforce the concrete drive surface. On Thursday, concrete will be poured for the driving area of the upper deck, after which the hardening process will take place in the next few days.
Concrete will be laid for the lower deck surface next week after it has been milled to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
“We are now past the middle of this project to repair and reopen the Brent Spence Bridge,” said Gray. “We’ll go from construction to completion in the next two weeks.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation has already awarded the state $ 12 million for the project, and Gray says the contract is a little over $ 3.1 million. “There are additional costs associated with the project. Engineering, inspection and traffic management costs. We’re taking the $ 12 million down payment. “
He said it was too early to say if they’ll need to exceed the federal $ 12 million allocation and apply for more federal funding.
Gray also reiterated that the repair of the bridge is necessary not only to re-establish this important regional link, but also to ensure the long-term viability of the bridge and the close partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
“The Brent Spence is designed to move around 80 to 100,000 vehicles a day. it carries twice as much, ”he said. “We appreciate working with our partners at ODOT on managing traffic during the closure and moving to a new accompanying bridge that will provide additional capacity over the Ohio River.”