Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Bridge work to begin soon

4-lane span to replace Shortway

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Work on a replacement for the 84-year-old Shortway Bridge linking Covington and Newport could begin as early as today, state highway officials said.

        On Tuesday, crews were clearing weeds from a Newport field north of the bridge before moving their construction trailer in, and they had set up a crane.

        A new four-lane bridge with a concrete superstructure will be built just north of the existing bridge, said Charles Raymer, a deputy state highway engineer.

        C.J. Mahan Construction Co., the Grove City, Ohio, firm that built the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, is building the $10.2 million structure.

        Workers will start driving pilings this week on the Newport side, said Larry Trenkamp, district construction engineer for the Transportation Cabinet's Northern Ken tucky office.

        The first phase calls for building most of the new bridge by Nov. 15, 2000, Mr. Raymer said.

        “There should be no interference with traffic this year at all, unless things go really well and we accelerate the schedule,” Mr. Trenkamp said. “A lot's going to depend on the weather we have this winter. If we have a fairly mild winter and get a lot done, we may have to change the schedule.”

        Unless the schedule is accelerated, the current bridge will stay open until spring, 2001, Mr. Raymer said. It will then be closed for six months, and traffic will be rerouted to the Fourth Street Bridge linking Covington and Newport.

        A separate contractor will remove the old bridge “as soon as possible” after the new one is finished, Mr. Raymer said.

        The schedule calls for the contractor to finish the bridge by late 2001, or face “a fairly significant penalty,” Mr. Raymer said.

        The current bridge, a narrow two-lane structure with curvy approaches on each end, connects 12th Street in Covington with 11th Street in Newport.

        “It's sometimes known as the 11th Street Bridge or the 12th Street Bridge, depending on which area you're coming from,” said Charles King, local history librarian at the Kenton County Public Library System's Mary Ann Mongan Library in Covington.

        Built and originally operated by a trolley company, the Shortway Bridge was acquired by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in 1984, Mr. Raymer said.

        While the Shortway Bridge has been slated for replacement for some time, construction was delayed as the state struggled to design a new bridge and secure the necessary permits from a number of entities, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Covington and Newport, Mr. Raymer said.

        “It's an historic link and a vital transportation link between Covington and Newport and Kenton and Campbell counties,” Covington City Manager Greg Jarvis said.

        He said the new Shortway Bridge will improve access to the two cities, and enhance Covington redevelopment efforts.


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