12th St. Bridge should be open on Nov. 1

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

ASHLAND, KY. — In just three weeks, the traffic will be flowing a little more freely from Ohio to Ashland, Ky.

By Nov. 1, the 12th Street Bridge is expected to open as crews finish up the bright green paint job.

Allen Blair, the public information officer for District 9 of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the intention of the Nov. 1 deadline was to have the bridge open in time for the Christmas shopping season.

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And while the long stretch of warm weather has been bad for lawns and gardens, it has helped the painting crews, which started in late January.

It is unclear whether or not it helped enough for the bridge to open early. The last part of the job is painting the underneath sections and the exit on the Kentucky side. Last week, crews closed down Greenup Avenue to paint underneath.

“There is a possibility (of an early opening),” Blair said. “There is always a chance the weather will cooperate and it will open a few days early.”

Blair said the long stretch of dry weather has helped crews keep on schedule.

“The crews have enjoyed a lot of stress-free time not worrying about wet weather,” Blair said. “It helped them move along at a good pace.”

Blair said if they had kept the 13th Street Bridge open to traffic rather than rerouting traffic to the 12th Street Bridge, it would have taken a whole lot longer than eight months.

“It has been an inconvenience and I’m sure there are people who have grumbled about having to negotiate a different route but from our standpoint, it has gotten the work done a lot quicker,” he said. “Crews would have had twice as much work, they would have had to paint one section and then move tools and equipment to the other side.”

Blair said that if the bridge opens early, there will be announcements made so people are aware.

The 13th Street Bridge is being painted green while last year the 12th Street Bride was painted blue. And it’s not because those would be the colors of University of Kentucky and Marshall University, it is because those are the official colors of Ashland, blue represents the sky and green represents the hills of Kentucky.

Bridges in Kentucky are painted about every two decades.

Kentucky 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. The contract, awarded to North Star Painting Company, Inc., of Youngstown allows for total closure of the bridge between February 1 and November 1.