Work begins this Friday night on a project that's expected to cause major traffic problems. Maintenance on the Brent Spence Bridge will close two lanes in each direction over the next two months.
The Brent Spence Bridge carries twice as much traffic as it was designed to, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. And while there's lots of talk about replacing the bridge, Chief district engineer Bob Yeager says this is just regular maintenance, including pouring new concrete.
"People ask 'well, why don't you just do it overnight when there's not much traffic?' Obviously if you've ever poured concrete before you know it has to cure and set and the whole bit, and it has to be continuous. So we have to close a lane to do that. And in order to work on a lane, you have to close two lanes."
Yeager says crews will also be installing new lighting, fixing drainage issues and working on the steel frame of the bridge.
"Even a routine maintenance project… with the amount of traffic that we have would typically take about six months. And we're going to do this in 60 days. Our plan is to get in and get out," Yeager says.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is recommending drivers take alternate routes, and plan for delays on I-71 and I-75.
Yeager says with two lanes closed at a time, drivers will have to change the way they cross the bridge.
"If you're like me and you travel the Brent Spence every day, you look for the lane that has the least amount of people in it and then you try to get into the lane you actually need to be in. That's going to be quite dangerous and in some cases impossible."
The first phase will close the two lanes on the east side of the bridge in both directions. The second phase will close the center lanes and the final phase will close the two lanes on the right side.
Yeager says the Transportation Cabinet has a website with tips for getting around what's expected to be a 2-month project.