No word on when the Sherman Minton Bridge will be back open

Published: Sep. 12, 2011 at 11:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jan. 4, 2012 at 10:02 AM EST
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Doug Langdon
Doug Langdon
Jonathan Stroud
Jonathan Stroud
Mike Hancock
Mike Hancock
Kathy Eaton-McKalip
Kathy Eaton-McKalip

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you felt like the Monday morning drive into work was brutal, it maybe something we all have to get used to. Traffic was backed up on Interstate 65 between the Kennedy Bridge and I-265 Monday morning after officials abruptly closed the nearly 50-year-old Sherman Minton Bridge when inspectors found cracks in the steel structure of the bridge.

Now, the concern shifts to the p.m. hours as drivers head back home.

Indiana resident Doug Langdon had an extra hour added to his drive into Louisville. "It was frustrating," said Langdon.

"You look around the office and you can tell the people they aren't in their chairs they must be Indiana employees," said Humana employee Jonathan Stroud.

As drivers headed home Monday, it was not going to be an easy drive.

"We are bracing for a tough go this afternoon," said Mike Hancock, secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Officials are keeping in mind their game plan will need adjustment and patience from you.

"We expect larger than normal back up on I-71 southbound, I-65 northbound and in the downtown Louisville grid," said Hancock. "What we need people to do is leave work earlier or later than usual. We need people to carpool, telecommute and avoid interstate travel when possible."

State transportation officials say it's going to take a few days for you to find the best route and you may want to consider the ones less traveled.

"There were other roads like Lewis and Clark, Veterans Pkwy and Spring Street that took you to I-64 West to I-265 that were under saturated," said Kathy Eaton-McKalip from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

In the meantime, as everyone tries to find a way after what many experienced during the morning rush, it could be the start of what's to come.

"Yeah, I was thinking I need to move," said Langdon. "I would imagine there isn't a whole lot of people living in southern Indiana in six months."

Officials from Kentucky and Indiana are reassuring commuters that two remaining Ohio River bridges, the Clark Memorial and the Kennedy, are safe for commuters. Although those two bridges are carrying the load of more than 80,000 vehicles that normally would travel over the closed Sherman Minton Bridge, the two spans pose no structural concerns.

Officials say it will take at least three weeks to access the crack on the Sherman Minton and then inspect and estimate when things will be back to normal.

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