Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Reopening of Northbound U.S. 41 Twin Bridge at Henderson

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 19, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Keith Todd

Governor’s forethought helped reduce traffic impact during closure

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials will reopen both northbound lanes of the U.S. 41 Twin Bridges at Henderson tonight. Governor Ernie Fletcher has been closely monitoring the bridge maintenance and painting project after leading a plan earlier this year that significantly minimized the impact to traffic during the closure. 

“We are very pleased with the progress on the northbound bridge,” said Governor Fletcher.  “Our priority was to complete the project in a timely and efficient manner and with as little disruption to traffic and area commerce as possible.  We have accomplished that goal.”

The cabinet is working with the contractor to complete final inspections, and both lanes of the northbound bridge are expected to be restored and opened to traffic by tonight.

In April, the Governor asked engineers to reconsider an original plan that only allowed one lane of travel in each direction during the closure.  As a result, a new plan was developed to run three 10-foot lanes of traffic on the southbound bridge, two for southbound traffic and one for northbound traffic.  One lane of traffic was maintained on the northbound bridge.  The plan allowed greater traffic flow and lessened the impact on area business. 

Over the past two months, the contractor has moved work onto the southbound bridge.  That work underneath the deck of the southbound bridge has only required nighttime lane closures.

After the northbound bridge is reopened to two lanes of traffic, the contractor will use the “extra lane” on the southbound bridge as a work platform to advance work underneath the southbound bridge at night.  Traffic on the southbound bridge will remain restricted to two 10-foot lanes with a strictly enforced 35 mph speed limit and double fines in the work zone.

Construction will continue on the southbound bridge this fall as long as weather allows, and will continue on the superstructure of the southbound bridge in March 2008.   

M & J Painting Company is the prime contractor on the $23 million bridge maintenance and painting project.  Also known as the Bi-State Gold Star Vietnam War Memorial Bridges, the two structures carry approximately 40,000 vehicles daily across the Ohio River between Henderson and Evansville, Indiana. The northbound bridge was opened to traffic in 1932. It was last refurbished in 1983. The southbound bridge was opened to traffic in 1965. It was last painted in 1990.