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Ashland bridge repair to begin

Bridge
Jun. 20, 2013 @ 06:51 AM

ASHLAND -- A contract to make repairs to the damaged Ben Williamson Memorial Bridge at 12th Street by July 31 was awarded Wednesday.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet awarded a $52,400 contract to Evers Welding Co. of Cincinnati, according to a news release. Barring any unforeseen problems, the work is scheduled to be completed by the end of next month.

"We realize that the 12th Street bridge is a vital link for countless Kentucky and Ohio residents," Bart Bryant, Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 chief engineer, said. About 20,000 cars per day use the bridge over the Ohio River that brings traffic from Ohio to Kentucky.

"We appreciate people's patience as we have worked to get a repair contract in place. Our highest priority continues to be repairing the bridge as quickly as possible so that it can once again safely connect these communities."

The green-painted bridge that brings traffic from U.S. 52 at Coal Grove to U.S. 23 in Ashland was damaged last month from a vehicle impact to a steel support beam on the Ohio side of the two-lane span. The damage forced officials to close the bridge on May 20 after heavy trucks failed to abide by a 10-ton weight limit.

The blue-painted, three-lane Simeon Willis Bridge at 13th Street was converted to handle both north and southbound traffic until repairs are made. The move, however, caused traffic to back on the Ohio side many hours during the day as motorists try to get to Ashland.

It took more than eight days to get traffic flowing both northbound and southbound as the bridge was converted to handle both northbound and southbound traffic on May 28.

District 9 has established a web page with traffic maps, current bridge status, a project timeline and other information, according to the release. The website can be accessed at transportation.ky.gov/District-9 and then clicking "Ashland Bridges."

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