Traffic safety primary concern as Blue Bridge is replaced

The Blue Bridge at Garrison has been closed for a replacement project. Motorists are urged to exercise safety in utilizing the detours around the project area. - Randy Jamison Photo

The Blue Bridge at Garrison has been closed for a replacement project. Motorists are urged to exercise safety in utilizing the detours around the project area. – Randy Jamison Photo

With the closing of the 87-year-old Blue Bridge at Garrison this week to begin a $4.4 million state replacement project, officials are concerned about safety in detouring traffic around the project area.

Judge Executive Todd Ruckel says he has been in contact with state transportation officials about the detours around the project area and has expressed his safety concerns with the added traffic on Ky. Rt. 1306 and congestion at the intersection of the AA Highway and Ky. Rt. 1306 (Kinney Road).

The bridge closed Wednesday morning so crews can prepare the structure for demolition. New bridge construction, including concrete piers and other work, will begin soon. Installation of steel beams and pouring the bridge’s concrete surface are slated for summer and fall.

The new bridge is scheduled to open to traffic by November 15, with a final project completion date of April 30, 2018, according to Allen Blair, Public Information Officer for District Nine DOT.

Blair said the old 400-foot, riveted steel truss bridge, which carried an average of 3,000 vehicles a day on Ky. Rt. 8 across Kinniconick Creek near its confluence with the Ohio River, was built in 1930.

“It has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced,” Blair said in announcing the project.
During the bridge closure, Ky. Rt. 8 traffic is being rerouted using Ky. Rt. 1306 (Kinney Road), the AA Highway, and Ky. Rt. 3311 (Montgomery Road) nearby. The detour is marked with signage.

Blair said commercial truck traffic into Garrison should not use the Kinney Road/Montgomery Road detour and should instead utilize Ky. Rt. 8 from Vanceburg/Black Oak when traveling into Garrison.

Blair said engineers are monitoring the situation and will adjust signage and traffic control as needed around the project area.

Ruckel urges motorists in the area to allow extra time in traveling to and from Garrison and to exercise added caution, especially around times that school buses will be operating.

“Safety of our citizens and our children is our primary concern,” Ruckel said. “Contractors will be working to complete this project as quickly as possible to reopen traffic on Ky. Rt. 8 later this year.”

Magistrates recently questioned the possibility of some improvements to Kinney Road because of increased traffic on that roadway between Ky. Rt. 8 and the AA Highway during the bridge construction.

Ruckel said he had requested possibly widening areas of that portion of Kinney Road improve shoulders.

State Representative Rocky Adkins said he is also aware of the concerns and had talked with state officials to address the matter.

“It is a priority to maintain and have an adequate detour for the traveling public as a new bridge is being constructed,” Adkins said.

“The project to replace this aging bridge is much needed and once completed will be a great asset to the community,” he added.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet awarded a low-bid, $4,395,340.88 contract to Bush and Burchett Inc. for the project.

CSX Transportation has placed barriers along their railroad tracks to deter traffic from traveling on their right-of-way adjacent to the project area.

Road work schedules are subject to change depending on weather conditions. Motorists are asked to heed all warning signs, slow down in work zones and remain aware of workers and construction equipment when traveling.

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