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Bridge painting back on track

The painting of Ashland’s 12th Street bridge will continue until fall.

Allen Blair, the public information officer for District 9 of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the work is about half completed and the recent spate of dry weather has painters back on schedule from the winter and spring rain delays.

“The contractor has finished 50 percent of the painting and will be done on time,” Blair said.

The painting began in late January and is expected to be finished on Nov. 1.

“The recent dry weather has allowed them to catch up from whatever delays they had,” he said. “It has helped.”

The 12th Street Bridge is being painted green while last year the 13th Street Bride was painted blue. Blue and green are the city’s colors with blue representing the sky and green representing the hills of Kentucky.

Blair said the intention of the Nov. 1 deadline was to have the bridge open in time for the Christmas shopping season, although crews may still be painting the piers underneath the bridge.

“Work will speed up as they move to the Kentucky side,” Blair said. “As they get closer, they don’t have the long approach like the Ohio side.”

Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced last November that he and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet had approved a $6.8 million contract to paint the 12th Street Bridge.

To make sure the traffic still flows safely and efficiently, the bridge has been closed to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic during most of the project, which will include power blasting and painting the 1,600-foot main span and approaches. The contract, awarded to North Star Painting Company, Inc., of Youngstown allows for total closure of the bridge between Feb. 1, 2007 and Nov. 1, 2007.

During the closure, southbound traffic on U.S. 23 is detoured to the 13th Street Bridge, which is temporarily configured to accommodate four lanes of traffic with two lanes in each direction.

“The contract calls for the bridge to be at least partially open to traffic by November,” Mark Brown, the public information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said. “Now of course, there may still be some painting cleanup work going on during that time but we wanted to be at least some traffic flow during November and the whole thing done by the end of the month.