A state transportation official says 2019 is expected to see a three- fold increase in the number of bridge rehabilitations and replacements in Kentucky. Much of the work on about 300 crossings will be along county roads.
Bridging Kentucky Program Manager Royce Meredith says there are a backlog of needs, but motorists need not be concerned about bridge failures. “Those are rare and the reason they are rare is because the system is set up where our bridge inspectors, our state bridge inspectors inspect every bridge on our inventory every two years and, once they become posted for load, we inspect them yearly, if not more often. So, we’ve got a lot of eyes on them,” said Meredith.
Meredith says many jobs will involve rehabilitation and not replacement. “It might involve taking the deck off the bridge, taking the beams off and putting new beams and a new deck down. But, a lot of times those savings, it can be 50% cheaper to do that than to put a new bridge up and it’s just as safe,” noted Meredit
The estimated state investment totals about $700 million over six years. More than 60 bridges are currently closed to traffic. Work on 24 bridges is expected to be underway by the end of the year.