By BRADEN LAMMERS
Inspectors began examining the Interstate 65 Kennedy Bridge connecting Louisville to Jeffersonville on Monday, which could result in some lane closures later in the week.
“A consultant engineering firm will be performing fracture critical inspection of the bridge,” said Matt Bullock, chief district engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 5, in a press release. “This type of detailed inspection is performed every two years on all steel truss bridges like the Kennedy Bridge.”
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, a fracture critical inspection is a close-up, visual inspection of all “steel members in tension on the bridge.” The majority of the bridge inspection will be completed without any affect on traffic. But single lane closures on the bridge will be necessary when inspectors are using man lifts to access some portions of the bridge.
The lane closures associated with the inspection are scheduled for Oct. 14-18 from 8 p.m. each evening until 5 a.m. the following morning.
Louisville-based Infrastructure Engineers, Inc. was awarded the contract to inspect the bridge, which totaled $140,000. Weather permitting, inspection of the Kennedy Bridge will be finished by Oct. 20.
A full report of the inspection will be submitted to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet within 60 days of completing the field inspection, said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Spokeswoman Andrea Clifford. But the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is still waiting to complete two other repairs on the bridge, including the repair of a traverse crack found on the bridge in August.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Chuck Wolfe explained an anomaly was indicated within the steel on a bridge truss high on a southbound side of the bridge during the course of the regular inspection that followed the redecking of the bridge. He explained additional stress was added to the “anomaly” due to the redecking construction and extra traffic that was routed onto the bridge as a result of the closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge last year.
To complete the repair, steel plating will be added to each side of the truss. New Albany-based MAC Construction and Excavating, which completed the $18.2 million project to redeck the bridge and repair its approaches, will reinforce the steel and will be paid via a change order from the transportation cabinet. Stantec Consulting Services was contracted to complete design work to repair the crack.
In addition MAC will need to repair a pothole near an expansion joint in the right lane of southbound Interstate 65 on the bridge where the concrete did not set properly. The repairs are expected to take less than a week to complete. Clifford said those repairs are expected to begin in early November.