State awards $3.1 million contract for Spence Bridge repairs, target by Dec. 23

The Brent Spence Bridge following an accident on 11/11/2020.

COVINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray announced late Monday the awarding of a contract to Kokosing Construction Co. to repair and reopen the fire-damaged Brent Spence Bridge that connects Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.

Kokosing, headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, submitted a low bid of $3,127,528 and committed to having the bridge reopened to traffic by Dec. 23. There will be additional costs the exact amount yet to be determined for ancillary expenses such as traffic control, construction inspection and additional steel.

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The bridge, which carries about 160,000 vehicles per day across the Ohio River on Interstates 71 and 75, has been closed since a fiery truck crash in the early hours of Wednesday, Nov. 11.

An in-depth inspection of the bridge, supported by laboratory testing, showed that damage was localized and the structural integrity of the bridge was not compromised.

“The bridge is safe and sound and sturdy. The damage could have been far worse,”Secretary Gray said. “This has been confirmed through an exhaustive inspection of the bridge, supported by laboratory analysis.”

“The repair project would have been much more complicated if any of the critical steel support components had been compromised. Once the lab testing told us the critical supports were still strong and not compromised, the repair job became clear from an engineering and construction standpoint,” Secretary Gray said.

Engineers from potential repair contractors examined the structure over the weekend. The Transportation Cabinet, which employed an emergency bidding process, accepted Kokosing’s bid today.

“We are determined to get the repair project underway as soon as safely possible because of the importance of the Brent Spence to the communities it connects and to the nations commerce,” Secretary Gray said. “At the same time, we are going to return to the public a safe, sound bridge. There will be no cutting corners.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation authorized up to $12 million in emergency relief reimbursement funding for expenses related to the project.

Needed repairs to the bridge will include replacement of a section of the upper concrete deck, plus steel beams known as stringers that support the deck weight. A section of the lower deck will be milled out and filled with new concrete but does not require complete replacement. Also to be replaced is a lengthy stretch of concrete bridge railing. Beyond those items will be electrical and drainage work and some cosmetic fixes such as restriping the pavement markings.

The crash and fire occurred about midway of the lower, northbound traffic deck of the two-deck bridge, which connects Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky, but also is a critical link in one of the nations busiest traffic corridors. Current construction plans do not require closing of the river. River traffic can continue.

Earlier today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary Gray teamed up for the latest of their public updates on progress of the repair project. A video can be found here.

A visual of anticipated repairs can be foundhere. Keep updated on the Brent Spence Bridge repair project here. Follow our Covington highway district, KYTC District 6, on Facebook and Twitter and online here. Follow and join the conversation using #BSBUpdates.