KYTC Seeks Info on Damage Caused to Brookport Bridge, Imposes Load Limit

Jun 18, 2014

The damage occurred to a compression member of the structure. Had the damage been to a tension member of the structure it could have caused a failure of the span similar to the May 23, 2013 collapse of the Skagit River Bridge near Burlington, Washington.
Credit KYTC

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is seeking information about damage to a support beam of the U.S. 45 Ohio River Bridge connecting Paducah and Brookport, Illinois.

The structural damage prompted KYTC officials to initiate a load limit and width restriction for traffic on the 85-year-old bridge. With an 8-feet width restriction and 20-ton load limit in place, traffic will be restricted to nothing larger than a small box truck.

KYTC District 1 chief engineer Mike McGregor said a truck carrying an oversized load may have struck the beam in the last 2-3 days.

“It is alarming that someone would hit the bridge structure and not report it to 911 immediately,” McGregor said in a news release.  “While several photos of the railing were posted to social media, there were no calls about the damage to McCracken 911 Dispatch or any of our facilities.”

The U.S. 45 Ohio River Bridge is also scheduled for a month's closure this summer to allow the city of Paducah to construct a tunnel under U.S. 45 for the Greenway Trail.  KYTC engineers plan to use that closure to further evaluate the damaged beam.