Photo courtesy of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) - KYTC District 9 Bridge Engineer Blake Jones (right) and inspector Kirby Shugars look at one of the many hanger cables on the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, engineers plan to reopen the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge in early May after additional rust-proofing and final inspections.

Construction crews began repairing parts of the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge in early March. The bridge that works as a pathway for many local residents has been closed since last year.

The bridge, which carries US 62 across the Ohio River between Maysville and Aberdeen, Ohio, was restricted to a 3-ton weight limit in July when inspectors found corrosion damage to several suspender cables – the vertical cables extending from the main suspension cable that supports the bridge’s driving surface.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet put the bridge on a monthly inspection rotation and began planning temporary repairs.

In November, the cabinet awarded a $254,535 repair contract to Judy C. Harp Company, Inc., and the contractor began ordering bridge components and other materials.

According to state officials, the bridge was then closed to safeguard it from further damage and protect the traveling public after subsequent inspections found that the conditions of cables had worsened at several locations.

Repairs include the installation of temporary support rods and brackets at 19 locations adjacent to damaged suspender cables as a short-term safety measure. Extra rust-proofing as well as weight limit calculations and inspections are now needed before the bridge can be reopened.

“We understand the importance of the Simon Kenton bridge to our region,” said Steve Gunnell, Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 chief engineer. “That’s why we’re taking a proactive, safety-first approach to protect motorists and to ensure the bridge remains open with the least amount of future traffic disruption.”

The rust-proofing, which has been added to the repair contract, includes applying a special anti-corrosive coating to steel cables and other components that are showing higher rates of corrosion than expected. It’s hoped that the extra work will slow down deterioration, and reduce the need for further retrofit closures, until longer-term repairs – such as a full cable replacement project – can be planned.

Once rust-proofing and inspections are complete, Kentucky officials hope as early as the first or second week of May, the Simon Kenton bridge will be reopened.  Once opened, the bridge will be restricted to a lower weight limit.

Until repairs are complete and it passes inspection, the Simon Kenton bridge will remain closed. All US 62 traffic should continue to detour using the William H. Harsha Bridge (US 68) three miles north of Maysville to connect to and from US 52 and US 62 in Ohio.

According to historicbridges.org, the bridge was constructed in 1931 By Builder/Contractor: John A. Roebling Sons Company of Trenton, New Jersey and Engineer/Design: Modjeski and Masters. This bridge is one of the few surviving historic suspension bridges on the Ohio River.

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