Inspectors searching for crack on Kennedy Bridge - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Inspectors searching for crack on Kennedy Bridge

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Less than a year after an $18 million repair on the Kennedy Bridge, inspectors are looking for a new crack.

Haley Jurich trekked the Big Four Bridge in downtown Louisville with her big dog Yogi and a few friends -- all of whom were just a bit curious about the sight just across the river.

"I feel like [there's] been so much work on the bridges lately, and I wonder what they're...doing now," she said.

The far right lane on the northbound side of the Kennedy Bridge remained closed for much of the day. On Wednesday morning, an engineer, or inspector, could be seen scaling to the top of the bridge, looking to see if there was a crack in the steel of one of the upper cords.

A possible crack was first identified in a consultant report last Fall and obtained by WDRB News. That discovery followed an $18 million repair to re-deck and re-surface the I-65 bridge that carries traffic over the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana.

By lunchtime, that one inspector had turned into several, all of whom were scaling roughly 80 feet to the top of the structure -- perhaps a sign that a fracture had been discovered.

If indeed inspectors find a crack, engineers will drill a hole to stop it from spreading further. Drill a hole to fix a crack? If you're not an engineer, that might sound unusual, but the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says it is a rather routine fix.

"They are doing it in a way to keep the track from extending through the steel," said Andrea Clifford of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "If the hole is there, the crack can't continue to grow and move...This is a technique they used before. The bridge is not in imminent danger. If it were, we would have lowered the weight limit, or closed it altogether."

Of course, the term "bridge crack" drives concern for many people in Kentuckiana who can't forget the traffic nightmare from when the fracture shut down the Sherman Minton Bridge last year.

Clifford is clear: she says this is not that. If inspectors find a crack this morning, it will be a one-day fix, a one-day repair.

But the term bridge repair drives concern for many people throughout Kentuckiana.

"Sometimes, in the back of the mind is, it's not safe -- a safety hazard -- and they need to fix that as soon as possible," Haley said.

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