Bridging Kentucky Program Using Cost Savings to Speed Construction of Critical Bridges
FRANKFORT, KY — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is scheduled to move more than 460 bridge projects to construction by June 30, 2020, through its new Bridging Kentucky program. This includes more than 120 bridges in the program that are being expedited as a result of cost savings and efficiencies realized by the new program.
In 2019 alone, approximately 400 bridge projects will move from design and planning to construction, making this one of Kentucky’s busiest years of bridge building.
Bridging Kentucky is one of the nation’s most aggressive bridge rehabilitation and replacement programs and represents a commitment by Gov. Matt Bevin and the Kentucky General Assembly to improve the safety of bridges throughout Kentucky. Through the program, KYTC will replace or rehabilitate more than 1,000 bridges in six years, reopening bridges that have been closed and restoring structures so they can be used by buses, emergency vehicles and commercial trucks.
The program is delivering improved value based on three main principles:
- Efficiencies are created by designing and planning similar bridges as a group rather than as individual projects.
- Funds can be used to restore more bridges if projects are strictly focused on required bridge work and not expansions or adjacent roadway projects.
- Using a life-cycle cost analysis, KYTC was able to determine whether rehab or replacement projects offer the best long-term savings for the Commonwealth.
“It is a testament to the efficiency of the approach KYTC is using and the work the team is doing that we’re able to accelerate delivery of 120 more bridges than anticipated,” said KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas. “Using the same $350 million the legislature and the Governor set aside for KYTC to advance 340 bridges to construction in two years, we’re scheduled to move more than 460 bridges to construction by June of next year.”
Thomas noted that not all 460 bridges will begin construction work or be completed by mid-2020. However, contractors will be asked to begin and complete construction work as quickly as possible.
He added that the state is taking a “worst-first” approach to selecting the expedited bridge projects, focusing on bridges that are closed, bridges rated well below their required capacity and bridges significantly impacting buses and emergency vehicles.
Program Started Quickly
The Bridging Kentucky Program was launched in mid-2018 to address the growing backlog of bridges in need of significant repair or replacement. The program is focused on restoring smaller, deteriorating bridges that have not received state funding as stand-alone projects.
The 1,000 bridges that will be addressed by 2024 include at least one bridge in need of repair in all 120 counties. Together these bridges affect about one million vehicles, or about one in five Kentuckians, daily. To date, more than 70 bridges in the Bridging Kentucky program have moved to construction, and a handful of these bridges have reopened to traffic.
Onsite assessments, surveys and environmental studies will continue throughout 2019 as the Program Team moves hundreds of projects to construction.
“When KYTC launched this program, we knew it would be a big task to address more than 1,000 bridges in six years,” said Bridging Kentucky Program Manager Royce Meredith. “We know this fast-paced program will create some short-term transportation challenges, with some temporary detours and bridge closures. However, the long-term benefits and the value of KYTC’s unique approach will benefit the Commonwealth for decades to come.”