Downtown exit ramp scheduled to close Saturday for repairs - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Spaghetti Junction column inspections show no need for additional repairs

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Inspections of dozens of columns with exposed reinforcing bars, or "rebar," in the Spaghetti Junction interchange showed no need for urgent repairs, a transportation official said.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet ordered the review after a shutdown of the exit ramp from Interstate 65 North to I-64 West on Dec. 20 because of a deteriorating column. Repairs to that pillar are planned.

But Mindy Peterson, spokeswoman for the Ohio River Bridges Project's downtown section, said the inspections that concluded last Friday on the other columns indicated that "no emergency action needs to be taken."

Repairs on the exit ramp column had been scheduled to start Saturday and last for about a week, but a blast of frigid weather expected to hit Louisville by early next week has delayed those plans, Peterson said.

No new date for the work, which will close the exit ramp, has been announced.

Walsh Construction, the company overseeing the downtown bridge project, will perform the column repairs under a change order with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Peterson said. The work will involve chipping out concrete at the center of the column, replacing damaged rebar and wrapping the entire column in a new layer of concrete.

"The deterioration was no worse than what they initially thought and the repair they are going to make is sufficient," Peterson said.

The 49-year-old ramp carries 149,000 vehicles a day and crosses over Witherspoon Street and an onramp to I-65 North northeast of Louisville Slugger Field. It will remain in use until at least the middle of 2015, when it is scheduled to be demolished as part of the bridges project.

Kentucky transportation officials ordered an emergency closure of the ramp after a passing driver noticed damage to the pillar.

WDRB.com reported earlier this month that the overall condition of the columns had worsened in recent years, but inspectors hadn't mentioned the deteriorated column, according to inspections. A state Transportation Cabinet spokesman said it was "concerning that it wasn't one of our own engineers who recognized the deterioration at this degree."

The ramp remained closed for several days while steel supports were added to stabilize the column. 

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