AP NEWS

Work complete; Ashland 12th Street bridge to reopen ahead of schedule

November 2, 2018 GMT

The Herald-Dispatch

ASHLAND — With the Transportation Cabinet’s $1 million preventive maintenance project now complete, contractors plan to reopen Ashland’s 12th Street bridge about two weeks ahead of schedule.

“This is great news, especially for some of our employees,” said Amber Wills, office manager of Gibbs True Value Hardware, located on 13th Street in Ashland. “Some of our employees had to leave home earlier to take the alternate route here and some said they had to sit in traffic for long periods of time going home.”

The 1930s-era steel bridge, officially named the Ben Williamson Memorial Bridge, carries traffic across the Ohio River from U.S. 52 in Ohio to U.S. 23 and U.S. 60 in downtown Ashland. The bridge closed on Sept. 8 so contractors could install new deck joints and overlay the pavement with a new concrete surface to prevent deterioration of the roadway — a project designed to safeguard the bridge’s future for the 14,000 vehicles a day that rely on it.

Since work began, all traffic to and from Ohio has been sharing the adjacent 13th Street bridge, which was converted to handle two-way traffic.

“It has been more of an inconvenience for our employees and our customers, so we are very happy to hear the news the bridge will be reopening this weekend,” Wills said.

Friday — if weather permits — or on Saturday, if necessary, contractors will change traffic control and switch all Kentucky-bound traffic back to the 12th Street bridge. Then, the 13th Street bridge will be re-striped to handle only one-way, Ohio-bound traffic again, according to a press release from the Kentucky Department of Highways District 9.

The traffic switch will take place between the morning and evening rush hours and will take several hours to complete, the release added. “Motorists are advised to travel with caution and expect delays during the process,” the release said.

In June, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet awarded a $988,948 contract to Delong Concrete LLC of Lexington to complete the preventive maintenance project by Nov. 15.