Friday September 30, 2011
Governor Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said today the two states have agreed on a solution to repair the Sherman-Minton Bridge following three weeks of inspection, testing and analysis.
The bridge will remain closed during repairs, which are expected to take approximately six months. Preliminary cost estimates are $20 million. Contractor bids, which will be opened in mid-October, will include incentives for early completion.
“We’ll do all we can to get the bridge opened as quickly as possible but there will be no shortcuts on safety. After considering multiple options, the experts agree the repair strategy that has been selected is the best option,” said Daniels, who ordered the bridge between New Albany and Louisville closed on September 9 following discovery of a serious crack in a steel tie.
“Our goal throughout this review process was to develop an aggressive plan to repair and reopen it as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Gov. Beshear. “I am grateful that Administrator Victor Mendez has personally pledged to expedite the necessary federal reviews of this project, and I am hopeful that with incentives and innovative management from the construction bidders that we will be able to reopen even sooner.”
“I’m pleased that we have a plan to repair the bridge and get it reopened,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “Commuters and businesses will have to live with traffic inconveniences for up to six more months, but it’s better than the alternative of having the bridge closed for years."
To repair the bridge, new steel plating will be installed along both sides of the bridge tie that runs horizontally along the entire 1,600-foot structure. This will increase the bridge’s safety and reliability. The repairs will give the bridge at least 20 more years of useful life. During the additional bridge testing, other weld defects were found at numerous locations that confirmed closing the bridge was the appropriate decision for public safety.
Indiana, which has lead responsibility for maintenance of the bridge, will issue bid documents to contractors interested completing the bridge repair on Tuesday (Oct. 4). Bids will be awarded in mid-October. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) conducted a pre-bid meeting with contractors earlier this week. The two states share bridge costs equally.
An incentive of $100,000 per day will be offered for each day the winning contractor finishes work before the target completion date. The incentive is capped at $5 million or 50 days.