Federal transportation department to kick in $5 million of $20 million cost for Sherman Minton repairs

09/30/2011 02:59 PM

NEW ALBANY, IND. — The governors of Kentucky and Indiana got a $5 million down payment from the federal government to help fix the ailing Sherman Minton Bridge that will take as much as $20 million and six months to fix.

Thanks to a stopgap spending measure passed by Congress to fund the U.S. Department of Transportation, $5 million will cover a quarter of the estimated cost of repairs, said Victor Mendez, the U.S. Highway administrator.

Standing together Friday morning, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the plan that would put new steel plating across the lower deck of the bridge to reinforce it.

Crews also will work to repair more welding areas that are deemed weak or damaged, Daniels said. That would encompass 40 percent of bridge’s welding, added Daniels, whose state is responsible for covering general maintenance of the bridge.

The repairs already made have cost more than $6 million dollars.

Beshear said although another six more months with a closed bridge is the bad news, the fact that everyone involved is cooperating so quickly is a plus. And having a plan in place for repairs was even better, he said.

Inspectors closed the Sherman Minton Bridge three weeks ago after finding cracks in a steel beam. The bridge carries traffic on I-64 across the Ohio River between New Albany, Ind., and Louisville.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston


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