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Governor Bevin Joins State, Local Officials to Commemorate Reopening of New Salem Circle Bridge

MADISONVILLE, KY — Governor Matt Bevin joined transportation, state and local officials this morning to commemorate the reopening of a key railroad overpass in Hopkins County closed to traffic for 17 months due to structural issues. Work began this spring after the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) awarded a contract to repair the locally owned New Salem Circle Bridge in an effort to restore a vital link to the community.

In February, Governor Bevin approved half a million dollars in discretionary funds for repairs to the structure as part of his commitment to Kentuckians to allocate available transportation dollars based on community need. Last summer, KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas announced the Cabinet would step in to lead efforts to recommission the locally-owned bridge that provides critical access to motorists and first responders.

The railroad overpass was closed in December 2017 when KYTC inspectors found cracks in the bridge approaches and substructure during a routine inspection. Thomas credited Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty for championing the project and staying in close contact with transportation officials as engineering and planning work progressed.

“Reopening the bridge is a testament to the importance of collaboration at the local and state level to move Kentucky’s infrastructure forward,” Thomas said. “This administration is committed to taking care of what we have to keep citizens safe and connected.”

Damage to the overpass occurred during a CSX Railroad track-widening project and was further complicated by a water main break that eroded the embankment at one of the bridge ends.

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“The closure of the New Salem Circle Bridge required residents to take an extended detour and limited emergency access to areas served by the bridge,” Prunty said. “We’re pleased the Governor, Secretary Thomas and Transportation Cabinet District 2 engineers stepped up to help restore this important transportation connection.”

Bevin authorized $500,000 in discretionary funds for the engineering analysis, design and execution of the repair plan, developed by KYTC District 2 engineers. KYTC District 2 Chief Engineer Deneatra Henderson said specialized geotechnical contractor, GSI, Inc., provided key input on plans to encapsulate the abutment at the east end of the bridge, then performed additional work required to stabilize and restore the structure to open to traffic.

“It took a high level of cooperation to work through the various issues required to make this repair project come together,” Henderson said. “The area near the bridge includes U.S. 41, power lines, telecommunications cables, the Nortonville Water Plant, water lines, railroad tracks and a cemetery. That created a long list of factors to consider before repairs could start.”

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