Repairs are ahead of schedule for the Panther Creek bridge on KY 81, which is now expected to reopen in mid-August according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
KYTC said weather conditions have provided the opportunity for the contractor to be ahead of schedule with repairs.
The bridge was heavily damaged May 21 by a vehicle with a load too high to clear the crossmembers along the top portion of the bridge.
A primary component of the repair work is to increase the clearance on the bridge. Each crossmember will be replaced and raised approximately 2 feet, providing 17 feet of clearance for vehicles crossing the bridge.
Gusset plates and bearing stiffeners have been attached to the upper portion of the vertical beams to strengthen those sections that were impacted. Small plates with Direct Tension Indicator bolt kits have been installed on the vertical members.
Jim Smith Contracting is performing the work for $241,340.
Opened to traffic in 1934, the 246-foot structure with a 109-foot main span, includes a 6-panel Pratt through-truss design. The bridge underwent an extensive painting and maintenance project in the fall of 2018. In August 2019, it was damaged by a truck carrying a load of metal and subsequently closed to traffic. The bridge reopened two days prior to Thanksgiving 2019. Approximately 5,200 vehicles cross the bridge each day.