Bridge on U.S. 62 closes this week for repairs

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Forrest Berkshire

Landmark News Service

The bridge just south of Bloomfield on U.S. 62 will remain open a week longer than planned, highway officials announced June 6.
The bridge across the east fork of Simpson Creek, near the Y intersection with Ky. 55, closed Monday.
The bridge was scheduled to close last Monday, but the contractor doing the work couldn’t get some supplies and decided against closing the bridge if there wasn’t a need, said Chris Jessie, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, District 4 in Elizabethtown.
“We’re trying to minimize the impact as much as possible,” Jessie said.
The contract stipulates the bridge only be closed for 45 days, although Jessie confirmed the contractor had notified the cabinet that the scope of the work would likely take longer. While the contract imposes financial penalties on the contractor if the bridge is closed longer, Jessie said the cabinet would likely be lenient in applying any fees as long as it was re-opened in a reasonable timeframe.
“Our goal is before school starts,” Jessie said.
With about 65-70 days until school is back in session, Jessie said that goal should be attainable. The entire project won’t be completed until October, but Jessie said the emphasis is on getting the bridge back open to traffic as soon as possible.
Jessie said the bridge’s replacement is due not so much to its condition, but because of erosion caused by the stream that runs beneath it. Jessie was traveling when he spoke with the Kentucky Standard and did not have the exact age of the bridge, but said it is quite old. There was some initial preservation interest, he said, but that was judged not feasible.
During the closing, detours will be marked. A signed detour will be in effect utilizing Old Bloomfield Road from Bluegrass Parkway to Ky. 255.
Bloomfield Mayor Rhonda Hagan said the closure will impact the city somewhat.
“It will be an inconvenience,” Hagan said. “I think the people who will be the hardest hit will be the people who live right on the (south) side of the bridge,” she said.
With Bloomfield placing an emphasis on drawing tourism, Hagan said the project might have some impact economically.
“There is some concern about how it will affect some of our businesses,” Hagan said.
But the mayor said she understood the need.
“They have to do what they have to do,” Hagan said. “We’re still accessible.”