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Officials prepare to make repairs to Brookport bridge

By DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.com

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials will try to replace a damaged beam on the U.S. 45 Brookport bridge while the structure is closed until the end of July for construction of an underpass that will connect two sections of the Greenway Trail in Paducah.

The bridge was closed to traffic Tuesday and will remain closed for 21 days for construction of a 52-foot long, lighted underpass on U.S. 45.  The city of Paducah, in conjunction with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, coordinated with the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding the timing to complete the underpass. According to Keith Todd, transportation cabinet spokesman, a replacement beam to repair recent damage to the bridge is among items included in an emergency bid-letting scheduled for Friday. Whether the repairs can be completed during the bridge closure depends on a successful bidder getting the beam fabricated in time, Todd said.

"It will probably be the middle of next week before we know what kind of time frame we're looking at," Todd said.

Access to the Greenway Trail segment under construction, specifically between Cairo Road and the Smoke Shop off U.S. 45, will be closed until the completion of the underpass project.

Engineers restricted the bridge to a 20-ton load limit last month after a damaged beam on the upstream side of the second span from the Kentucky shore was discovered. Several additional structural members along the northbound lane also showed signs of being hit. Officials aren't sure exactly when the damage occurred.

It may have occurred between April 11, when cabinet officials had done a walk-through on the bridge, and around April 30.

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