s they continue to assess the damage to the closed Sherman Minton Bridge, federal highway officials told Kentucky and Indiana lawmakers Wednesday that even minor repairs could take two to three months.
A more extensive fix to the span could require 1½ to 2 years, while replacing the structure would take several years, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said, according to Rep. John Yarmuth and the staff of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.[...]
The initial cost estimate for a relatively simple repair of the cracks is around $10 million, lawmakers were told. A more extensive repair project could run as much as $60 million, and a replacement bridge would cost several hundred million dollars.
One possible pool of money is the highway administration’s emergency relief program, which currently is about $100 million. Federal law allows those funds to be used only to repair or replace bridges that have been seriously damaged by natural disasters or have collapsed because of an external cause.[...]
As questions continue to swirl around the Sherman Minton, inspectors spent part of Wednesday scouring I-65’s Kennedy bridge to check the integrity of the structure and to ease concerns about the increasing number of vehicles it must carry.
Chuck Wolfe, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman, said inspectors were sent out at the request of Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock to get some “expert eyes” on the bridge.
Wolfe said inspectors also were directed to look at the Clark Memorial Bridge, on U.S. 31, but it was unclear if that happened Wednesday. He said inspectors would turn their attention to the Clark bridge “as soon as possible,” if they weren’t able to get to it Wednesday.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
No quick fix for Sherman Minton Bridge
We have the latest update from the Federal Highway Administration: