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Work on Greenway Trail underpass to begin Monday

Staff report

Paducah is about to begin construction on another phase of the Greenway Trail project.

Starting Tuesday, the Brookport bridge, also known as the Irvin Cobb or U.S. 45 Ohio River bridge, will be closed for 21 days to allow for the installation of an underpass that will connect the two completed sections of the Greenway Trail. According to Pam Spencer, public information officer for Paducah, Harper Construction will begin installing detour signs on Monday.

The city has been working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding the timing to complete the 52-foot long, lighted underpass at U.S. 45.  

"We know that the public is eager for the Greenway Trail underpass to be completed to allow for the safe crossing of U.S. 45," said City Engineer Rick Murphy. "However, for public safety reasons, the city needed to wait for the completion of IDOT's I-24 Ohio River Bridge project before we interrupted the Brookport bridge's traffic flow." 

The work to install new joints and a deck overlay on the I-24 bridge began in September 2013 and is close to completion.

While the Brookport bridge is closed, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will be evaluating a beam that was damaged by an oversized load in mid-June and schedule any needed repairs.

To access the damage, "the city's closure of the bridge will be helpful to us," said Keith Todd, cabinet public information officer. The Transportation Cabinet has no solid leads regarding the driver who allegedly caused the damage.

Paducah currently has two sections of the Greenway Trail open to the public from dawn to dusk.

In 2008, the city opened a 1.75 mile trail segment between Noble Park and County Park Road. In 2012, the 1.67 mile segment between Campbell Street (next to the Paducah Expo Center) and U.S. 45 (North Eighth Street) opened.

Once the underpass at U.S. 45 is completed, the Greenway Trail will stretch 4.6 miles.

This phase is part of a larger contract with Harper Construction, in the amount of $672,502. It includes the construction of 1.2 miles of trail on the city's floodwall levee between the Skatepark at Noble Park and U.S. 45, behind the Smoke Shop, and signage and pavement markings at the Cairo Road (Ky. 305) crossing in addition to the pedestrian underpass at U.S. 45.

Signage, quarter mile markers, intersection safety devices, and a shelter will also be installed.

This phase is funded primarily by a Federal Highway Administration grant of $500,000. The city also has funds remaining from a previous Greenway Trail project, from a 2010 bond, and from the Boyles Estate Community Foundation, an endowment designated for walking and biking trails in the city.

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