SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT | Many fear un-tolled bridges will wear quick - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT | Many fear un-tolled bridges will wear quickly due to increased traffic

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Tons of steel and gallons upon gallons of cement are responsible for each of the Kentuckiana bridges open to traffic.

It's structural strength many of us depend on daily.

"I go across the Sherman Minton every day, twice a day," one commuter said.

As you've heard, tolling takes over the Lincoln, revamped Kennedy, and brand new East End Bridges in a matter of weeks.

"There will definitely be an impact on commuting patterns when tolling begins," said Wendy Dant Chesser of One Southern Indiana.

In a study, a Kentucky state consultant predicts 25 percent more traffic is expected on the Second Street Bridge, and 38 percent more is expected on the Sherman Minton.

"It's going to be a time vs. money decision," Chesser said.

Even by 2030, it's predicted more vehicles will still be using the un-tolled bridges. And Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore says that will put a toll on the un-tolled, like the Second Street Bridge.

"The more a bridge gets traveled on, the more repairs will be needed in time," Mayor Moore said.

Both of the bridges are older and do have some some issues. The Second Street Bridge opened to traffic in 1929. During it's 2014 inspection, the bridge had a cracked girder, leaning columns and corrosion on the truss, floor beam and caps.

Then there's the Sherman Minton, a bridge with a real history. Who could forget "Shermageddon," back in 2011? The bridge closed to all traffic for five months after inspectors found cracks in the bridge's steel.

The Minton's 2015 check-up revealed some corrosion on the deck and cracking to the curbs. 

"Both of these bridges have elements that are considered to be in fair condition," said WDRB.com reporter Marcus Green.

But could the predicted traffic pattern change add to the wear and tear and be cause for concern?

Andy Barber with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says he doesn't see it that way.

"It is a conservative study, so it's going to show probably higher than what's going to be realized traffic diverting," Barber said. "I don't think it will be significant to the point where it's going to impact our maintenance obligations at all."

But if something were to change, he says so too would inspections.

"Depending on the condition of the structure, that may impact when you inspect it or the frequency of inspection," Barber said.

Right now, they're checked on every two years.

"We're going to maintain them, as we always do," Barber said. "We're going to inspect them, as we always do."

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