Construction on the Irvin S. Cobb Bridge -- commonly known as the Brookport bridge -- has reached its halfway point, and the bridge is still on track to reopen in November, transportation officials announced Thursday.
The bridge -- one of two that connects western Kentucky and southern Illinois -- has been closed since May.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd said contractors have patched the metal grating in places, replaced bearings and have repaired concrete work on Pier 13. Among the work left to complete is wrapping the concrete with carbon fiber, which Todd said helps to add support and extend the life of the concrete.
"It's been here since 1929. It's served us well, and the taxpayers have gotten their money's worth out of it," Todd said Thursday.
"The whole idea here is to ensure that the safety and viability of the bridge can continue into the long term."
Todd said most of the maintenance items initially identified have been completed. He also said the contract has expanded and likely doubled the original $180,000 estimate.
"We want the bridge to be safe. We want it to be in service," he said.
Todd said the next step is for contractors to install the scaffolding that will allow them to begin the carbon fiber wrapping.
Once the bridge returns to service, Todd said there may be a weight limit imposed, though the width limit of 8 feet should exclude most commercial vehicles already.
"We need for truckers to understand that they need to stay off the bridge," he said, noting the structure has been damaged in the past by drivers hauling equipment too big to pass. Illegal truck traffic caused the initial closure in May, Todd said, due to safety concerns for the contractors. While the bridge was closed, crews discovered the additional maintenance needs.
Todd said the cabinet has spoken with law enforcement about potentially increasing its presence at the bridge to keep commercial vehicles off.
During the closure, motorists have used the Interstate 24 bridge to cross between Paducah and Metropolis, Illinois.