Ashland Bridge beam replacement set for weekend of Aug. 9-12
ASHLAND, Ky. — Contractors have scheduled the replacement of a damaged steel beam on Ashland’s 12th Street (Ben Williamson Memorial) bridge for the Aug. 9-12 weekend — the final stage in reopening the Ohio River crossing.
The original repair completion date was July 31. However, work is being restricted to weekends to reduce traffic impacts. And, after coordinating schedules and safety plans with both Norfolk Southern railroad and the two state transportation departments, Aug. 9-12 is the contractor’s first available opportunity to make physical repairs on the bridge.
“These last two months, the Tri-State has been severely inconvenienced by a vehicle accident and the subsequent traffic issues it has caused,” said Bart Bryant, Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 Chief Engineer. “We appreciate the public’s continued patience as engineers and contractors move closer to reopening the bridge.”
The 12th Street bridge, which carries traffic across the river between US 52 at Coal Grove and US 23 in downtown Ashland, was damaged in late May when a truck crashed into the Ohio approach span — bending and twisting a steel support.
Citing safety concerns, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers closed the bridge on May 20 to ensure its structural integrity. A week later, highway crews had converted the adjacent 13th Street bridge from one-way to two-way traffic, and structural design engineers had begun drawing up repair plans. The project was placed on a high-priority status, and a contract was awarded June 19 to Evers Welding Co. Inc. of Cincinnati.
In the last five weeks, Evers Welding has been fabricating the replacement steel, mobilizing equipment and working with transportation engineers to finalize shop drawings and repair plans, as well as scheduling traffic control for the roadway and railway beneath the bridge.
Repair plans call for high-capacity jacks to support the bridge while the damaged beam is removed and the new beam installed. Work is tentatively scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, and continue through early Monday, Aug. 12.
To protect motorists, all traffic beneath the bridge will be diverted during that time. And, train flagmen will direct rail traffic. The following highway detour will be in effect:
− On US 52 east, through traffic may take the Ashland bridge exit ramp near Coal Grove, proceed up the ramp, past the Ashland bridge turns and use the facing on ramp to re-enter US 52 east of the work site. Motorists should watch message boards for direction.
Ashland-bound traffic will continue using the US 52 exit ramps to access the now two-way 13th Street bridge, so motorists should expect significant delays during construction.
The 12th Street bridge will reopen after work is complete and as soon as the structure is deemed safe to cross by transportation inspectors. If the weather permits and there are no unforeseen complications during repairs, the reopening could occur as early as Monday, Aug. 12.
To keep the public up to date with what happened and with repair plans, the Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 has established a web page with detailed traffic maps, a traffic cam link, current bridge status, a project timeline and other information.
The public may access the web page at Transportation.ky.gov/District-9/Pages/Ashland-Bridges.aspx, or at Transportation.ky.gov/District-9 by clicking “Ashland Bridges.”
In addition, motorists may follow District 9 on Facebook at Facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9 or Twitter at Twitter.com/KYTCDistrict9 for updated Ashland bridges information as well as traffic and state highway project information across northeast Kentucky.