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Repairs to bridge linking Ohio, Kentucky to take weeks

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Posted at 11:08 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 23:08:49-05

CINCINNATI (AP) — Repairs to a bridge linking Ohio and Kentucky that was damaged by a fiery truck crash will take weeks, Kentucky’s transportation secretary said Thursday.

Inspectors went on the Brent Spence Bridge to assess damage after workers cleared away debris and the bridge cooled down from the extreme heat from the crash early Wednesday.

Officials don’t yet know the extent of damage, but Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said: “We know that under the best case, we have repairs that will take weeks to execute.”

The bridge’s closure has caused massive detours along a major transportation artery connecting downtown Cincinnati with northern Kentucky across the Ohio River.

Kentucky and Ohio officials said they’re committed to getting the bridge repaired and reopened as quickly as possible. The span carries about 160,000 vehicles a day, Kentucky officials said.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the crash occurred around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, apparently when a truck jackknifed on the bridge and was struck by another truck hauling potassium hydroxide. No injuries were reported. The crash sparked the fire, with 400 gallons of diesel fuel as the main cause, officials said. An undetermined amount of diesel fuel spilled and burned in the fire.

The intense fire left crews with “complicated” jobs to evaluate and repair the damage, Beshear said.

Officials were proceeding on multiple tracks, even as the bridge assessments continued.

“We’re already engaged in securing the supplies, the vendors, the contractors that we know will be needed, regardless of the specific details of the eventual repair work,” Gray said.

Kentucky will request federal assistance for the repairs, he said.