I-64 bridge demolition delayed in Shelby County.

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Severe weather creates minor setback

By Cameron Koch

 Demolition of the old KY 55 bridge over Interstate 64 was delayed for one day because of severe weather Monday night.

The bridge is now coming down completely tonight rather than Tuesday, if weather allows.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials have said demolition of the side of the bridge over the top of the eastbound lanes of the interstate should have concluded today at 5 a.m. The westbound lanes will be closed from 7 tonight to 5 a.m. Thursday as the remainder of the old bridge is demolished. Weather forecasts for Wednesday are predicting sunshine.

During this 2-day construction period, traffic will be detoured off I-64 using the exit ramps at Exit 32. Drivers will use entrance ramps to get back on the interstate.

Andrea Clifford, public information officer for the Transportation Cabinet, said the demolition was still on schedule until the very last minute Monday night. It wasn’t the rain that delayed the construction, but specifically the heavy amount of rain, lightning and severe winds brought in by several storms. A little rain actually helps settle the dust and debris that comes as a result of demolition blasts on concrete, she said.

“We saw on the radar there were going to be more storms throughout the evening,” Clifford said. “Rather than get out there and have everything set up and start tearing down the bridge and then have an electrical storm come through – you don’t want to be out in that with pieces of metal equipment, and then have to only getting part of the work done. When they take down the overpass, they want to get everything down on one side before traffic runs back under there again. You don’t want to have anything partial for fear of opening it to traffic and having something fall.”

The National Weather Service forecasts for tonight and Thursday predict clear skies.

The new exit ramp to KY 55 from I-64 eastbound opened on Saturday, which without a doubt would figure to be a big change for many regular drivers of the route who had grown accustomed to taking the ramp just east of the overpass and looping around. Clifford said so far there have been no reports of complaints or problems with the new ramp.

Eventually at the end of the construction project, a traffic light will replace the stop signs on the new ramp. Clifford said only the eastbound exit ramp, and not the westbound ramp, would be receiving a traffic signal.

“The reason for that is, based on traffic volume and traffic studies, the majority of the traffic exiting 64 west onto Kentucky 55, the majority of that traffic is turning right ahead into Shelbyville. I’m sure there are left-turners, but we have not seen the need for a signal at this point. But that can always be reviewed in the future.”