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UPDATE: Engineers analyzing plans to reopen Sherman Minton Bridge after emergency closure

The Sherman Minton Renewal project is expected to add up to 30 years of life to the aging bridge.
John Boyle
/
LPM
The Sherman Minton Bridge, which connects Louisville and Southern Indiana, fully closed Thursday morning for immediate repairs.

Engineers with Indiana and Kentucky transportation departments are analyzing repair plans to allow part of the Sherman Minton Bridge to reopen in the coming days.

This story was last updated at  6:51 p.m. July 27, 2023.

The Sherman Minton Renewal team, which is rehabilitating the 61-year-old bridge, announced a partial closure Wednesday night after discovering needed repairs on the deck of the Kentucky approach span. By Thursday morning, the bridge was completely closed to traffic.

Most recently, the bridge has held two lanes of eastbound traffic and one westbound on the lower deck. On the upper deck, there has been one westbound lane open.

A spokesperson said in a news release Thursday afternoon that the call to close the bridge came after engineers noticed a problem with a bearing and pier that support the upper deck of the bridge.

The pier is on land and supports the bridge approach on the Kentucky side. They said it does not support a portion of the bridge that crosses the Ohio River, and that the issue was not previously visible.

Officials plan to reopen the lower deck after performing temporary repairs to support the upper deck. They did not provide a timeline for reopening the upper deck, but engineers are evaluating the bridge throughout the night to open this portion “as quickly as possible,” according to the release.

Access has been limited since rehabilitation of the six-lane, double-decker bridge began in 2021.

According to the project timeline, construction is expected to be done next year. It’s not clear how the recent discovery may affect that.The bridge is one of two non-tolled options between Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and the only one connecting to New Albany and Floyd County. Officials suggest drivers use alternate routes through I-65 and I-265.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.