HEBRON, Ky. — A months-long construction project along one of the Tri-State’s most crowded interstate corridors is now expected to last about a month longer.
Construction crews first descended upon the Carroll Cropper Bridge, the stretch of Interstate 275 that connects Boone County in Kentucky to Dearborn County in Indiana, back in May to complete a deck restoration project on the aging span.
Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet originally expected the project would end in November, but now anticipate a completion date of December 2015, according to a weekly road projects report released Friday by KYTC District 6 spokeswoman Nancy Wood.
Because the project has restricted traffic-flow to just one lane in either direction, motorists have experienced long delays, both as a result of the bottleneck as well as a number of subsequent crashes and disabled vehicles since the project began.
The Carroll Cropper Bridge is the only bridge spanning the Ohio river for 20 miles west of downtown Cincinnati, and had a troubling reputation for crashes and delays even before the construction began. Among numerous other incidents, it was the scene of a deadly crash in March when a semi-truck slammed into a vehicle, claiming the lives of 59-year-old Elaine Ludwig and her 18-year-old daughter Amanda.
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In August, after construction was well underway, two semi-tractor trailers hauling mobile homes became stuck along the narrow construction zone, halting traffic for hours.
Despite its reputation, though, Boone County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tom Scheben does not see the bridge as exceptionally dangerous. “When you think about the number of cars that travel that bridge on a daily basis, you can look to the structure, but I just don’t see it being there.”
According to KYTC, the span carries more than 30,000 cars across the river every day.
The work will place a new concrete bridge deck overlay on the bridge, as well as install new roadway lighting. The federally funded project comes as the second phase of improvements that began last November.
The road projects report did not indicate a specific reason for the project’s delay, but weather conditions, emergencies, and other factors beyond the control of the Department of Highways can play into any such delay, Wood said.