Work on the Irvin Cobb (Brookport) Bridge on U.S. 45 over the Ohio River is nearly complete and could open to traffic as early as the end of the week, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced Tuesday.

The $400,000 maintenance and repair project's original target date was Nov. 1, putting it more than a month ahead of schedule. The reopening of the roadway, however, will come with "enhanced traffic restrictions" and a new load limit to curb illegal truck and farm equipment on the structure.

New signs have been installed on approaches to the bridge indicating a 15-ton load limit, reiterating the strict 8-foot load width, and two new 9.5-foot barriers are being constructed at each end of the bridge to specifically exclude vehicles over that height.

KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat said progress on those items and completion of some additional maintenance efforts will allow a better approximation of an opening date.

The project is ongoing and the contractor still has work to do below the bridge deck. KYTC engineers have worked out a plan to allow the contractor to return to complete that work in about three weeks. It is possible this phase of work can be completed with only intermittent daytime lane restrictions.

Poat added there is no process in place to replace the bridge, furthering the need for restrictions to maintain safety and serviceability of the structure into the future.

Most border bridges are jointly owned by the states they connect. The Irvin Cobb Bridge came into the highway system prior to those agreements, so it is solely owned and maintained by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The 10-span structure carries approximately 5,000 vehicles across the Ohio River each day between Paducah and Brookport, Illinois.

For further information and updates, visit KYTC District 1's Facebook page.

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