Road work slows Sherman Minton Bridge traffic to a crawl - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Road work slows Sherman Minton Bridge traffic to a crawl

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Morning commute times have doubled for many southern Indiana drivers who use the Sherman Minton Bridge.  It will likely to be at least another month before traffic there returns to normal.

Since August 22, repair work on the bridge has forced the closing of one of the three eastbound lanes heading into Louisville, sending traffic crawling along I-64 even before daylight.

"The work is actually taking place under the bridge," says Will Wingfield of the Indiana Department of Transportation, "so in order to do that there needs to be trucks and equipment to get safely underneath that bridge."

Traffic even backs up on the streets in downtown New Albany as motorists wait to get on the slow-moving interstate.  Travel across the bridge is often at speeds of 20 miles an hour or less, which means motorists are learning the real definition of patience.

The Dept. of Transportation says to open the lane only during rush hour would delay completion of the project.  Right now, depending upon the weather, the repair work is expected to be finished sometime in October.

Once rush hour is over after about 9 o'clock, traffic flow returns to normal, and it's then a fast and easy drive across the bridge.

The bridge, opened in 1962, has some unique features that need repair. "Replacing the connections on the diaphragm system that helps to distribute wind pressure on the bridge and putting in some new bolts and mechanical connections on the bridge," says Wingfield.

The federal government has rated the Sherman Minton as functionally obsolete, meaning it was built under construction codes that are now outdated. Wingfield says the bridge is structurally secure. "The bridge is inspected on a routine basis every two years, just like every other bridge in Indiana," he says.

Crews are putting in extra hours taking advantage of the daylight because the work is too dangerous to do at night.

47,000 vehicles move across the lower deck of the bridge into Kentucky every day. 

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