The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has set a target date for closure of Owensboro’s Blue Bridge.  A contractor plans to close the bridge at 6:00 a.m. on July 5, 2011, to allow reconstruction of a major portion of the bridge deck.

According to KYTC District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn, highway engineers and the contractor worked through routine scheduling issues to come up with the July 5th target date.

“A July 5th closure date will give commuters who regularly use the bridge an opportunity to make plans for an alternate travel route,” McClearn said.  “We also wanted the businesses that depend on bridge traffic to bring customers by their door plenty of opportunity to prepare for the 3-month closure.”

McClearn made the announcement at the Kentucky end of the KY 2155 Ohio River Bridge, noting that closing the bridge to all traffic will allow the work to be compressed into 3 months instead of taking 5 to 6 months.

On average, 8,500 vehicles cross the Blue Bridge between Kentucky and Indiana each day.   About 30 businesses along Indiana 161 between the bridge and Indiana 66 at Reo, IN, depend on traffic generated by the river crossing.

“We recognize closing the bridge will reduce traffic for many of these businesses,” McClearn.  “Almost all of the businesses have offered support for this project because they realize the work will help maintain the reliability of this river crossing.  We encourage everyone to support these businesses as often as possible during this extended bridge closure.  It may require some extra effort to get to and from these businesses, but they need the support of the rest of us during this 3-month closure.”

Transportation officials and the contractor are also committed to providing regular updates as work on the bridge progresses.

“Our contractor is aware of the great public interest in this project and will be providing regular progress updates that we can pass along to the public,” McClearn said.

Hall Construction Co., of Louisville, had a winning bid of $3 million for the partial deck restoration project, which is jointly funded by Kentucky and Indiana. The contract has strict time constraints.  It specifies that the bridge be reopened to traffic by October 3rd.

 The Blue Bridge – also known as the Glover Cary Bridge – connects KY 2155 and Indiana 161.  The bridge opened to traffic in September 1940 as a toll bridge. Tolls were discontinued in 1954.