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Bridge unsafe; BG lanes closed

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By Randy Patrick

The eastbound lanes of the Bluegrass Parkway will be closed indefinitely between Exits 21 and 25 while state Transportation Cabinet engineers study the results of inspections done on a bridge over the Beech Fork River.

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Chris Jessie, spokesman for the cabinet’s District 4 office in Elizabethtown, said traffic will have to be re-routed through Bardstown for a week or two while state workers construct crossovers to divert eastbound traffic to the westbound side of the parkway. That work was under way Monday morning.

Traffic except for trucks will be detoured from Exit 21 at New Haven Road (U.S. 31E) to U.S. 62 to U.S. 150 and rejoin the Bluegrass Parkway (Ky. 9002) at Exit 25 on Springfield Road (U.S. 150).

Truck traffic will be diverted onto Ky. 245 between Exit 25 at U.S. 150 and the Bluegrass and I-65 at Clermont.

Late Friday, the Transportation Cabinet sent out a traffic alert informing police and other first responders and media about the road closure, which would begin Saturday at 9 a.m.

“The closure is in the best interest of safety for motorists and will reduce physical stresses and impacts to the structure until repairs can be made. … Bridgework plans are also in progress as engineers continue analyzing inspection results to determine the scope of repair,” the memo said.

Jessie said he couldn’t make an “educated guess” yet about how long it might take to fix the bridge.

“While we know the problem, we have not determined the scope of work required to resolve the issue safely,” Jessie said. “We may know more late this week.”

Jessie said Monday transportation employees noticed an inch  “raised edge” of pavement on the bridge, and thought it looked unsafe.

In a Facebook message, Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, called it “a very dangerous situation.”

Higdon said that for the next several days, there will be an additional 6,000 cars going through downtown Bardstown.

There were reports of heavy traffic through downtown Sunday afternoon.

Jessie said that alleviating the traffic problem is a matter of adjusting signal timing.

“What worked over the weekend might not work today,” he added.

If traffic is diverted from I-65 onto Bluegrass Parkway, which occurred Friday before of an accident, there could be even more traffic routed through Bardstown.

“We’re doing all we can as quickly as we can,” Jessie said.