Work on the Kennedy Bridge

Workers on the Kennedy Bridge (KYTC photo).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A section of closed lanes on the Kennedy Bridge reopened Thursday following repairs to a damaged roadway joint. 

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said on Twitter that all lanes on the southbound I-65 bridge were open just after 2 p.m., hours after a "successful materials test" earlier in the morning.

The left three lanes had been shut down since at least June 7 after inspectors discovered six missing bolts at an expansion joint that connects sections of the concrete deck. Two other bolts were loose, and two more had been sheared off.

The repairs that finished this week involved crews installing about 200 custom-made, 18-inch steel bolts. Photos posted online Wednesday showed a worker tightening bolts from beneath the bridge deck near the Indiana side.

The work was expected to cost $12,000. It marked the latest in several repairs to expansion joints on the bridge since a $22 million rehabilitation before it reopened in late 2016 as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project. 

The rehab work replaced the bridge's expansion joints, which resemble clasped fingers and are meant to stay flush with the driving surface. But as WDRB News reported in July, an inspection of the Kennedy after the new joints were added found "errors in construction" that have contributed to the damaged joint that was recently secured. 

The Transportation Cabinet has said that air pockets, or voids, were formed when the concrete deck was poured, but they were not “visible or detectable” through the metal decking. Those voids have contributed to multiple broken or missing bolts at the joint, according to the state.

Walsh Construction completed the work on the Kennedy Bridge and other downtown parts of the bridges project under an $860 million contract with Kentucky in late 2016. The Transportation Cabinet has said there was no warranty for the Kennedy or Lincoln bridges, the downtown spans in the RiverLink toll system.

The joint is one of four assemblies on the span between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind., that let the bridge expand and contract depending on weather and other conditions.

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