Kentucky reviewing bridge plans, carrying out extra inspections
To ensure safety of river crossings with high-strength steel
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2011) – In accordance with a federal recommendation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet bridge inspectors are double-checking bridges with high-strength steel components to ensure that any critical findings have been appropriately identified and addressed.
The Federal Highway Administration, in a nationwide technical advisory, recommended reviews of inspection records and, if necessary, follow-up inspections of bridges containing welded components of “T-1” steel – a type at issue in the forced closure of the Interstate 64 Sherman Minton Bridge between Louisville and New Albany, Ind.
“The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has a continuous and thorough bridge inspection program. We carry out some 8,000 bridge inspections every year, and our inspectors are trained to document and monitor potential issues as these bridges age year after year,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said.
Kentucky is responsible for maintenance of six bridges that contain T-1 steel components. Four other bridges, all of which are over the Ohio River and which include the Sherman Minton, are maintained by neighboring states – Illinois and Indiana.
Two of the six Kentucky-maintained bridges – the twin Combs Hehl bridges that carry I-275 over the Ohio River at Campbell County – underwent exhaustive inspections and repair or replacement of T-1 steel plates in 2008 and 2009.
The I-24 bridge over the Tennessee River between Livingston and Marshall counties was inspected this week by a crew on a “snooper” bucket truck. No concerns noted. (There is T-1 steel in the west approach to the bridge but not in the tied-arch bridge itself.)
The Kennedy Memorial Bridge, which carries I-65 between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind., underwent an unscheduled inspection on orders of Secretary Hancock on Sept. 14. No concerns noted.
In Boone County, Transportation Cabinet engineers have reviewed original design plans for the I-275 Carroll Cropper Bridge to southern Indiana and identified welded T-1 components. The next step will be a special inspection. There have been no previous issues or deficiencies with T-1 components in the bridge.
Original design plans also are being reviewed for the remaining bridge – the U.S. 41 southbound bridge over the Ohio between Henderson and Evansville, Ind. The review will help determine whether further inspection is needed.