Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said the two states have agreed on a solution to repair the Sherman Minton Bridge following three weeks of inspection, testing and analysis.
The bridge will remain closed during repairs, which are expected to take approximately six months. Preliminary cost estimates are $20 million. Contractor bids, which will be opened in mid-October, will include incentives for early completion.
"We'll do all we can to get the bridge opened as quickly as possible, but there will be no shortcuts on safety. After considering multiple options, the experts agree the repair strategy that has been selected is the best option," said Daniels, who ordered the bridge between New Albany and Louisville closed on Sept. 9 following discovery of a serious crack in a steel tie.
To repair the bridge, new steel plating will be installed along both sides of the bridge tie that runs horizontally along the entire 1,600-foot structure. The repairs will give the bridge at least 20 more years of useful life, according to the announcement. During the additional bridge testing, other weld defects were found at numerous locations that confirmed closing the bridge was the appropriate decision for public safety.
The two states share bridge costs equally.
An incentive of $100,000 per day will be offered for each day the winning contractor finishes work before the target completion date. The incentive is capped at $5 million, or 50 days.