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Sherman Minton Bridge Expected to Open in 6 Months

Federal and state authorities say the Sherman Minton Bridge will reopen in about six months. The bridge closed three weeks ago after a crack was found in its support structure.Gov. Steve Beshear, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez made the announcement at the New Albany fire headquarters on Friday.The cost of fixing the bridge is estimated at $20million, said Daniels. A quarter of that will be federal funds, said Mendez.“We are bringing additional federal resources to the project. Up to 25 percent of today’s estimate, the 20 million you’re hearing about, we will find additional federal resources because the new fiscal year is just beginning tomorrow,” Mendez said.Even though the Sherman Minton Bridge is Indiana’s responsibility the remainder of the cost will be split between the two states. For Kentucky, the funds will come from the state’s transportation budget, said Beshear.“We’ll find the money one way or another. Obviously we have other uses for that money and the more money we have to pull off of other things, obviously other things will slow down to some degree. But this is a top priority. This is a crisis. This is an emergency and this moves to the top of the list both in Indiana and in Kentucky,” Beshear said.Supplies have already been ordered to replace the obsolete metal along the entire length of the bridge that has other areas of concern, said Daniels. The bidding process for contractors will begin in the next couple weeks, officials said.Around six to seven million dollars has been spent so far on bridge repair and management.