Girders going into place on Russell viaduct project

Published 1:25 am Saturday, January 23, 2021

RUSSELL, Ky. — Motorists traveling on U.S. 23 and Ky. Route 244 in Russell can expect delays in traffic three days a week as workers begin moving large steel girders into place on the viaduct project at the Kentucky end of the Oakley C. Collins Memorial Bridge.

“They’ll be doing this on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays,” Allen Blair, with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 9, said of the work which began on Tuesday and will continue for the next four weeks.

Steelworkers have been offloading and placing girders on the newly-built bridge piers adjacent on the Ky. 244/Bellefonte Street viaduct.

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Blair said there is no set time each day when this will be done, as it is dependent on when the girders arrive.

The work will require flagged traffic or temporary traffic stops on KY 244 several times on those three days, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Contractors will coordinate daily traffic changes and, when necessary, flaggers will be positioned on KY 244 in Russell and at the U.S. 23/KY 244/Oakley C. Collins bridge intersection to direct traffic.

Blair said they will try their best to minimize delays. But, because significant delays are possible on the heavily-traveled highways, the Kentucky Department of Highways is advising motorists to seek alternate routes in and out of downtown Russell when possible during construction times.

The $20.6 million viaduct project includes building a new KY 244 looping westward from U.S. 23 to a new flyover bridge across U.S. 23 and the railroad tracks on the river side to touch down where the old viaduct bridge connects to Bellefonte Street in Russell.

This overhaul follows the replacement of the old Ironton-Russell bridge, which closed in 2016 with the opening of the Oakley C. Collins Bridge.

Blair has said work is ahead of schedule and, barring any complications, the contractor expects work to be completed by summer.