LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 15, 2012) – Motorists will begin seeing major construction activity next week as crews repair and resurface the deck of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge on Interstate 65 over the Ohio River.
Until now, the work involved in an $18.2 million repair of the nearly 50-year-old bridge has taken place below deck. But now work moves to the top side of the bridge deck.
“For many months we have fielded complaints about the rough, pitted surface of the Kennedy Bridge,” said Matt Bullock, chief district engineer for Department of Highways District 5, in Louisville. “These repairs were originally scheduled for this past spring, but the emergency closure of the I-64 Sherman Minton Bridge forced us to reschedule.”
The Kennedy Bridge carries 136,000 vehicles a day.
“Repairing an entire deck is an enormous undertaking. We have taken extraordinary steps to minimize disruptions to travelers, including ensuring that deck work was completed between the big holiday travel weekends of Memorial Day and Labor Day,” Bullock said.
Over the next few weeks, crews will be replacing expansion joints, patching concrete and installing an asphalt waterproofing membrane for the driving surface. The project area will be along I-65 from the Main Street overpass in Louisville to the north end of the bridge in southern Indiana (mile points 136.2 to 137.3). Repairs will also be performed on four ramp bridges in the I-65/I-64 interchange.
MAC Construction and Excavating, of New Albany, Ind., was awarded the contract for the project by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Lane closures on I-65 are scheduled to begin on Thursday, June 21, at 8 p.m. and remain in place through the end of July. Vehicles wider than 9 feet are restricted from traveling through the work zone.
Two lanes of traffic on the bridge will be maintained in each direction during the project. That will require traffic to be shifted to the opposite side of the bridge at certain phases.
The Kennedy Memorial Bridge has four northbound lanes but only three southbound lanes. To keep two lanes open in the southbound direction and provide enough space for the construction to take place, the contractor has proposed constructing a median cross-over on the bridge so one northbound lane can be used for southbound traffic.
To accomplish that, a portion of the median barrier wall on the bridge will be removed, and temporary pavement will be laid to allow for traffic flow to the opposite side of the bridge. The median crossover will be removed at the end of the project and the barrier wall reinstalled.
During construction, several ramps on each side of the bridge and in the I-65/I-64 interchange will be closed. Motorists must follow the signed detours during these closures. The following ramps will be closed on June 21 at 8 p.m. and remain closed for the duration of the project:
• The exit ramp from eastbound I-64 to northbound I-65 in Kentucky
• The exit ramp from southbound I-65 to Market Street in Indiana
• The entrance ramp from Court Avenue to southbound I-65 in Indiana
Beginning June 24 at 8 p.m., the exit ramps from southbound I-65 to eastbound I-64/northbound I-71 and westbound I-64 will be closed. These ramps will be closed for 10 days.
In addition, the exit ramps from northbound I-65 to eastbound I-64/northbound I-71 and westbound I-64 will be closed for 15 days – also beginning June 24 at 8 p.m.
All work is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 15. Actual starting date and duration of work are subject to change in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseeable delays.
For construction and traffic updates, visit http://transportation.ky.gov/District-5/Pages/I-65-Construction.aspx. Traffic information for all eight counties in District 5 is also available at www.facebook.com/KYTCDistrict5. Dial 511 or log on to 511.ky.gov for the latest in traffic and travel information across the state.