By Portia Williams
SOUTH PORTSMOUTH, Ky. — After months of arduous labor and interruptions due to inclement weather, the Carl D. Perkins Memorial Bridge officially reopened on Wednesday, Nov. 11, ahead of the Nov. 15 contract deadline. The Bridge has been closed since April.
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the cost was nearly $7 million to paint the Perkins bridge’s 600,000-square-foot steel superstructure.
George Agelidakis, Quality Control/Safety Director for Vimas Painting Company, Inc., the company hired by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said reopening entails a specific process, and they are glad to have the job completed.
“Before reopening the bridge you have to start on the outside and pick up all of outer detour signs, bridge closed signs, and then you pick up then traffic control. The last thing you do is pull the barricades,” Agelidakis said. “We are relieved that we got it opened, and are just happy that the town between Ohio and Kentucky has a brand new bridge to look at every day. This is our job, and we want to protect the safety of the citizens that travel over this bridge.”
Robert Carpenter, Judge Executive of Greenup County, Ky. said returning to normal traffic patterns will be great.
“The opening of the Carl Perkins Bridge helps a whole lot. It helps people get back to their normal routine, where they have had to pursue other options,” Carpenter said. “I will just be glad to see it open, and see things get back to normal.”
The bridge, which spans the Ohio River to connect Greenup County with Portsmouth, Ohio, was closed to traffic to speed the project. Retaining a lane of traffic would have extended the project to a year or longer.
In recent weeks, contractors completed painting and trim work on the bridge’s steel structure, and then applied a new protective coating for 6,000 feet of bridge railing.
The new paint will protect and preserve the bridge for about 35 years for the thousands of travelers who use it daily to cross from KY 8 and U.S. 23 in Greenup County to U.S. 52, Ohio 73 and U.S. 23 in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Learn more about Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 online at http://transportation.ky.gov/district-9.
Traffic updates available via Twitter at http://twitter.com/KYTCDistrict9 or Facebook at http://facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9. Or, navigate traffic with KYTC, http://511.ky.gov, and Waze, http://waze.com.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.