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Brent Spence repairs continue 'urgently, but not hastily'

Posted at 9:59 AM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 20:24:00-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — Repairs to the Brent Spence Bridge will be conducted “urgently, but not hastily,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray promised Wednesday morning. The Ohio-based Kokosing Construction Company plans to have the work done by Dec. 23.

"I want to emphasize that safety remains our number one priority this project," he said. "We will be engaging this project, this repair project, urgently but not hastily. There will be no cutting corners in this project."

The double-decker Brent Spence has been closed since Nov. 11, when a fiery crash between a pair of semitrailers damaged the steel supports on the lower deck and a section of concrete on the upper deck.

Replacement support beams had been delivered to the bridge shortly before Gray spoke on Wednesday; removing their damaged predecessors and installing the new ones will be the work of Thanksgiving week.

The repairs will require the work of hundreds of contractors, Gray said. In addition to the 27-inch beams, which were sourced from four different states, the project includes about 1,600 feet of concrete.

RELATED: Beshear: Brent Spence should reopen by Dec. 23

It’s a “significant traffic challenge” for those used to commuting over the Brent Spence, he acknowledged.

The bridge normally supports over 150,000 vehicles every day, many of them carrying goods over interstate trucking routes. On a normal Thanksgiving, it supports even more.

Gray said he believed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted health officials across the country to discourage Thanksgiving travel, would alleviate some of the burden.

“This week, this year, we are encouraging folks to break with the tradition for the sake of public health,” he said.

RELATED: Brace for more holiday traffic with Brent Spence Bridge closed

For people who commute daily to jobs or schools across the river, Gray encouraged foresight, discretion and careful planning.

The cause of the crash that damaged the bridge remains under investigation.

Anyone interested in tracking the repairs and finding alternative routes for their daily tasks can do so here.