UPDATE: 12 million in funding for repairs to Brent Spence Bridge

UPDATE POSTED 11 P.M. NOV. 14, 2020 (WTVQ) – The bridge connecting Kentucky to Cincinnati is getting some federal help.

Saturday, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved 12-million dollars in funding for repairs to Brent Spence Bridge.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim gray says inspections prove the bridge is structurally sound for traffic in the Ohio River below the bridge to reopen.

“We know that there’s disruption and we want to do our best to remedy that disruption as quickly as we can but we ask your patience on these closures as we proceed.”

This is the third day in a row Secretary Gray has been overseeing repairs.

POSTED 4 P.M. NOV. 11, 2020…The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will post updates about the bridge here.

UPDATE POSTED 1:11 P.M. (WTVQ) – Governor Andy Beshear says the Brent Spence Bridge in Covington is expected to remain closed for several days, but says that’s being “optimistic.”

At a briefing on the accident Wednesday afternoon, the governor said it is possible the bridge could remain closed for weeks.

Inspectors have not been able to get on the bridge to access the damage because parts of the bridge and the wreckage are still hot from the intense fire that was started by the accident.

Beshear said he will make an emergency declaration in order to get federal funds to make repairs to the bridge.

During the press conference, Beshear and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Jim Gray updated Kentuckians on the early morning vehicle crash and fire on the I-75 Brent Spence Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati.

Fortunately, there are no known serious injuries or deaths resulting from the crash or fire, according to reports from the scene.

“This is a very important bridge, not just for the region but for the nation, and we are fully committed to getting it back into service. But the safety of the public and of our and Ohios employees is absolutely critical,” said Beshear. “In the next hours, maybe a little longer, we need your patience. That patience is necessary to make sure we dont send anybody to do the inspection or to clean up the debris until we know they will be OK.”

Following the media briefing, Gov. Beshear signed a regional state of emergency declaration in order to adequately respond to the emergency situation. The Governor said, if needed, he would request federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation and has a call arranged with Secretary Elaine Chao Wednesday afternoon.

The information Gov. Beshear and Secretary Gray have as of 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 is:

  • At approximately 2:45 a.m. EST, a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) truck jackknifed while driving northbound (lower deck) on the Brent Spence Bridge. Officials do not know why the truck jackknifed.
  • After the CMV truck jackknifed, a second truck carrying potassium hydroxide crashed into it.
  • The collision caused a fire on the bridge. Emergency management personnel said 400 gallons of diesel fuel was the main cause of the fire. An unknown amount of diesel fuel spilled and burned in the fire.
  • The fire has been contained.
  • Both northbound and southbound I-75 lanes have been closed to allow clean-up efforts and engineers to inspect the bridge.
  • The Brent Spence was built in 1963 is a sound bridge. The Brent Spence expansion project was to build an additional bridge, not a replacement bridge.
  • The bridge cannot be examined for damage until it cools down enough to be safe for inspectors. The fire burned at up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Traffic will be detoured to I-275 and I-471.
  • By agreement between Kentucky and Ohio, KYTC is the maintenance lead on the Brent Spence Bridge. The inspection and solution process following this incident will be a joint effort between both states and the Federal Highway Administration.
  • Inspectors will determine the extent of damage and any structural damage. Initially, officials know that there is visible damage to the bridge and its concrete decking.
  • The bridge will remain closed until its safety can be guaranteed. KYTCs top priority, as always, is protecting Kentuckians and all visitors to the commonwealth.
  • At best, the bridge will be closed for several days, but travelers should be prepared for the possibility of weeks. Every reopening estimate at this time is purely speculative.
  • Employers who are able should allow their employees who can to work from home.
  • The next scheduled work on the Brent Spence Bridge is a painting job, which was scheduled to be let to contract next month. No construction work was included in the current State Highway Plan.
  • The Transportation Cabinet and Gov. Beshears office will continue to provide updates and information.

UPDATE POSTED 8:55 A.M. (WTVQ) Investigators and engineers are discussing options after inspectors say they found four pins that hold up the bridge have been compromised. Covington Fire and Police crews have been pulled from the bridge until stakeholders, inspectors and engineers can determine how to move forward and extent of the damage.

The bridge remains closed and likely will be for hours.

UPDATE POSTED 8 A.M. (WTVQ) -Kentucky transportation officials say it could now be 12 hours before the Brent Spence Bridge reopens.

According to officials, the Police reconstruction will take up to 4 hours to complete, and bridge inspectors cannot start and complete their inspection until that is done.

Preliminary reports from KYTC bridge inspector says they have found possible structure damage.

The Ohio River will be closed as well until further notice, according to KYTC.

ORIGINAL STORY:

KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says a portion of Brent Spence Bridge on I-75 in Kenton County could be closed all day, after a fiery crash early Wednesday morning.

According to officials, sometime after 3 A.M. a semi-truck hauling 110 pounds of potassium hydroxide crashed on the interstate and caught fire. Shortly after 5 A.M. officials say the fire was “predominantly contained, with a few remaining hot spots.” Shortly thereafter, state officials said the fire had been put out, and cleanup had begun.

They say an unknown amount of diesel fuel was spilled and burned.

Bridge inspectors must determine the safety of the bridge. KYTC officials say that could take up to eight hours, or “all day depending on what is found.” The road will be closed until the bridge is deemed safe.

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