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Transportation Cabinet undertaking major project on more than 1,000 bridges in the state over six years

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Calling it unlike anything they’ve done in the past, Transportation Cabinet officials outlined a massive project that will rehabilitate, repair or replace bridges in Kentucky.

Program Manager Royce Meredith told a meeting of the General Assembly’s Interim Joint Committee on Transportation that they will spend an estimated $700 million over six years on more than 1,000 bridges, in all 120 Kentucky counties.

“Kentucky’s deferred maintenance costs for bridges and roadways is growing, and we pledge to address that issue through projects like this,” Meredith said. “Through Bridging Kentucky, we’re going to tackle more than three times as many bridge projects as we do during a normal year.”

He told lawmakers the project will be by far the largest part of the Transportation Cabinet budget during the next two years, $340 million of the total $548 million bridge budget over the biennium that began July 1.

Royce Meredith

Meredith testified the Cabinet wants to get started as soon as possible, and over the next 120 days is developing efficient processes to move things along and stretch Road Fund dollars as far as possible.  “We will replace the structures that need replacing and rehab others that offer a better value.  Right now, it appears about 30 percent of these bridges can be rehabbed.”

He said they are on track to finish screening all 1,000 bridges by the middle of the month.  

“When complete, we will know exactly what needs to be done with each bridge, then focus on design and getting projects to construction as quickly as possible.”

Contracts for several bridges on the list have already been let and will be completed this year, according to Meredith.  

“Construction will also begin on some rehab programs later this fall, as we have identified 16 more that can be let this year,” he said.  “That number may increase as we finalize our screening process.”

He said 2019 will be a busy year for construction.

“We anticipate having between 150 and 200 bridge projects let for construction and we will continue a steady flow of construction work through the end of the program in 2024.”

There are a little more than 14,000 bridges in Kentucky, including county and state structures.

There is a little more money to help pay for the bridge projects, as Road Fund revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30, was $1.511 billion, or $7.7 million more than estimated.

However, Transportation officials said Road Fund Revenue over the next two years will be basically flat, or even slightly less than the last fiscal year.

The Road Fund includes taxes from motor fuel, vehicle sales, and motor vehicle licenses.

To find out more about the construction project, go to bridgingkentucky.com

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