The Ben Williamson Memorial (12th Street) Bridge, built in 1931, is a two-lane steel bridge spanning the Ohio River between Coal Grove and Ashland.
In late May, a vehicle struck a diagonal steel beam on the 12th Street bridge's Ohio approach span, bending it and damaging its connection to other beams supporting the structure. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet responded:
Tuesday, May 21: Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 bridge inspectors survey the damage. A 10-ton weight limit is imposed due to concern that the beam might not be functioning as engineered and calculations begin to determine the full effect of the damage ... See the News Release.
Wednesday, May 22: A team of engineers, bridge inspectors and Kentucky Department of Highways staff meet to plan follow-up work, including traffic and load monitoring. Repair planning begins.
Thursday, May 23: Further engineering analysis, computer modeling and continued heavy traffic use lead engineers to close the bridge because of unacceptable safety risks. See the News Release ... A detour is established. Repair plans intensify as the Transportation Cabinet consults with local officials in Ashland and in Ohio, including Ohio Department of Transportation. Work begins on ways to alleviate traffic issues related to the bridge closing.
Friday, May 24: While bridge inspectors continue to work, other engineers and traffic managers begin formulating several options to shorten detours such as ways to prevent heavy loads from using the 12th Street bridge – whether through staffing highway crews or enforcement officers or placing physical barriers – or the possibility of one-laning the bridge to increase its safe-carrying capacity or placing two-way traffic on the 13th Street bridge. Repair contracting process is put on a fast-track priority, and preliminary plans indicate the 12th Street bridge will have to close during repair.
Tuesday, May 28: Engineers meet at the bridge site to determine physical needs for rerouting traffic, including the use of the 13th Street bridge. Due to the need to close the 12th Street bridge for its repair, lack of accommodation for heavier traffic during a temporary opening and continued safety concerns, the decision is made to leave the 12th Street bridge closed and convert the 13th Street bridge to two-way traffic. See the News Release … The critical factor, a new traffic signal facing the usually one-way bridge, is able to be installed quickly and the alternate route is open to all vehicles by 6 p.m., eliminating previous detours.
Wednesday, May 29-Friday, May 31: Bridge engineers with the Kentucky Department of Highways and the structural design team at the Transportation Cabinet’s Frankfort office continue work on a permanent repair for the 12th Street bridge. Inspections and data analysis of the damaged steel beam continues. Traffic engineers adjust signal timings on state highways in downtown Ashland to accommodate added traffic patterns from the now two-way 13th Street bridge. The cabinet continues working with law enforcement to investigate the crash that damaged the 12th Street bridge.
Week of June 3: The alternate traffic route remains in place as the repair project progresses. Design of a steel beam replacement project is finalized and handed off to contract procurement staff.
Friday, June 7: The cabinet advertises for bids, seeking a specialized contractor to install a new steel beam in place of the damaged one. A contract letting is expected on June 14, with a project completion goal of July 31. See the News Release ...
Friday, June 14: During the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's general bid letting, bids for the 12th Street bridge repair are opened and work to award a contract begins. See the Construction Procurement page for bid details.
Wednesday, June 19: Following the review of bid documents, the procurement committee meets ahead of schedule to award a repair contract on a fast-track basis. Winning bidder is announced - Evers Welding Co. Inc. of Cincinnati. A News Release is issued.
June 20 - July 19: Contractor begins fabricating replacement steel, mobilizing equipment and working with transportation engineers to finalize shop drawings and repair plans, as well as working to secure necessary clearances to work over the roadway and railway and to schedule traffic control on both facilities.
July 19: A work order is issued after insurance and other repair plan and safety clearances. Scheduling with transportation and railroad officials continue.
July 26: The contractor schedules the steel beam replacement to take place on the bridge during the Aug. 9-12 weekend - the first available opportunity after coordinating with railroad schedules, with work planned for the weekend to reduce traffic impacts in the area. A News Release is issued to area media.
Aug. 5: Officials with Evers Welding, the Kentucky Department of Highways District 9, ODOT District 9 and Norfolk Southern gather at the work site for a preconstruction meeting that covers repair and traffic plans.
Aug. 9: Repairs begin on site, with Evers Welding Co. Inc. cutting out the old beam and installing a temporary support to make way for replacement steel. See photos of repair efforts on KYTC District 9's Flickr account.
Aug. 10: Work continues, and includes removing more damaged steel, installing the replacement beam and bolting it to the bridge superstructure. Contractors are ahead of schedule, and a reopening before Monday is anticipated. Detour on US 52 east ends.
Aug. 11: Final checks and painting, as well as work site cleanup are finished. Highway crews reset traffic signals and take down temporary traffic control measures. The bridges is reopened shortly after 1 p.m. See the News Release issued to area media.