Kennedy Bridge crews bolt repair

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Construction workers were on the Kennedy Bridge Monday preparing for repairs to a defective roadway joint that has led to lane closures for weeks.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said in social media posts that crews have “mobilized” to start work fixing an expansion joint on the Interstate 65 bridge that has failed near the Indiana state line. Those posts showed photos of roughly 18-inch steel bolts that will be installed.

The repair work is to require about 200 custom-made bolts, according to the state agency.

“Once crews make some progress with the initial bolt installation, KYTC will be able to accurately assess the time it will take to complete the repair,” the Transportation Cabinet’s Louisville office said on Facebook. “The duration of this work may be adjusted if inclement weather or other unforeseen delays occur.”

The repairs will cost $12,000, with Transportation Cabinet employees doing the work, spokeswoman Naitore Djigbenou said in an email.

The left three lanes of the bridge have been closed since June after inspectors found six missing bolts at the expansion joint, two loose bolts and two others that were sheared off.

The joint is one of four assemblies on the span that connect sections of the concrete deck. They were replaced during the Ohio River Bridges Project, which included a $22 million rehab of the Kennedy Bridge before it reopened in late 2016.

Despite that work, Kentucky has had to make several repairs to expansion joints on the bridge since then. An inspector also noted "errors in construction" that included air pockets, or voids, that developed after the concrete deck was poured.

Those voids have contributed to the joint's multiple broken or missing bolts, according to the state. 

This story may be updated.

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