There’s a mystery surrounding damage to the U.S. 45 Bridge over the Ohio River at Brookport.
A vehicle apparently struck the bridge, possibly as long ago as last month, and snapped one of the vertical members – but nobody called the cops, and engineers responding to complaints about a damaged guard rail have just now learned of the problem and inspected the bridge.
“The really disturbing part of this is that somebody would hit the bridge, do damage to the bridge and then just drive on, essentially endangering everybody that has crossed the bridge since they hit it,” said Keith Todd, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The busted member was a compression member; had it been a tension member, that span of the bridge could have fallen, Todd said.
The culprit figures to be the driver of a truck or farm equipment, but there’s no hard evidence. Repairs might be made next month. In the meantime, the weight limit on the bridge is cut in half, to 20 tons. There’s already an eight-foot width limit.
The bridge is 85 years old, otherwise in good shape but with a narrow roadway. Traffic is 5,000 vehicles a day.
The I-24 bridge at Metropolis is nearby, but it is undergoing deck repairs, so it has lane closures.