High water causing more delays on bridge construction - WDRB 41 Louisville News

High water causing more delays on bridge construction

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With Thunder Over Louisville now over, construction resumes on the new downtown bridge -- at least most of it. Flooding is delaying some of the work.

The rising and raging Ohio is causing problems hundreds of feet above the water's surface.

Normally, crews would be hard at work on the bridge towers. But high water means the barges used to stage the construction are out of action.

“When the river is high and the current is swift, you cannot have those barges in the river, so we have missed several days over the last two months,” said Ohio River Bridges Project spokesperson Mindy Peterson.

Work does continue on other parts of the bridge project, including the tower closest to Kentucky. It is accessible from the shore.

But, recent weather has not been kind to the construction calendar.

“We had back-to-back snowstorms late in the winter. We had some flooding as that snow melt happened, and then additional rain. We all know that April has been extremely wet, so crews on the river have missed quite a few days,” said Peterson.

But Peterson says traffic will cross the new bridge as planned next January. There are buffer days built in, and the bridge contractor, Walsh Construction, can accelerate work even more.

“There will be some weeks when crews are working seven days a week. There will be days that they'll be working 10-12 hours a day as they make up this time,” she said.

Walsh has a big incentive to finish on time, or even early.

If the downtown crossing, which includes reconstruction of the Kennedy Bridge, is not done by Dec. 9, 2016, Walsh will pay a penalty of $80,000 per day.

If work is finished early, Walsh gets a bonus of $40,000 per day, capped at $13 million.

“Those summer months are really providing a lot of good opportunities to get out there and make up some time and, hopefully, have a long stretch of nice weather when we can get a lot of work done,” said Peterson.

Work is scheduled to resume on the towers later this week, weather permitting.

Bad weather has already cost the bridge contractor, Walsh Construction, time. The company hopes, it doesn't also cost money.

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