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Eveleigh Bridge reduced to one lane

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By Rebecca Morris

A portion of a major north-south artery out of Grayson County will be reduced to one lane for weeks, after Kentucky Transportation Cabinet inspectors found a crack in Eveleigh bridge over Rough River on Ky. 259.
The bridge is near the Grayson/Breckinridge counties line, about nine miles north of Leitchfield.
KYTC closed Ky. 259, also known as Brandenburg Road, to all traffic at the bridge Monday night “due to a potential structural issue and safety concerns for passing motorists.”
KYTC spokesman Chris Jessie said a citizen’s tip led to the action. A person fishing or boating beneath the bridge spotted what appeared to be a crack and took a picture that was then routed through “official channels” — county officials — to KYTC personnel, Jessie said Tuesday afternoon.
After seeing the photo early Monday morning a member of the department’s bridge crew “recognized (the crack) as a potential problem” and contacted engineers immediately recommending the road be closed until an inspection could be done, he said.
“His experience with those steel bridge beams...led him to believe that it could be an issue,” Jessie said.
The crack was spotted during the bridge’s annual inspection, and likely was a sudden impact fault rather than a longtime problem, he said.
“Load stress conditions” are the likely cause — recent extremely cold weather combining with a heavy load and causing just enough stress to “pop” the steel, he explained.
After examining the bridge Tuesday morning, engineers determined it was safe to re-open it to one lane traffic.
Jessie said traffic signals would be installed at each end to allow for alternating one-way traffic.
Engineers began working on plans to let a repair contract as well Tuesday, and Jessie said they believe it will be let in March.
A timeline for the repairs, though, remains up in the air for now. They likely can’t begin until at least mid- to late-March or April.
Jessie said crews likely will have to set equipment up on the bridge and do the repairs from platforms and other riggings hanging over the side, since setting up repair equipment on Rough River would likely involve a longer permitting process.
“We want to be as cost-effective and the least disruptive (to traffic) as possible,” he said, “but we also have to focus on safety.”
Ky. 259 is a major north-south artery between Grayson County and Breckinridge County, where it intersects with U.S. 60 in Harned, just east of the county seat of Hardinsburg.
Those wishing to avoid the bridge can use Ky. 737 – Lilac Road – which intersects with Ky. 259 in north Leitchfield and heads northwest into Breckinridge County before tying back into Ky. 259 in McDaniels.