The Sherman Minton Bridge has been closed since September after the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) determined that the bridge contained structural cracks that threaten public safety. An FHWA memo states that cracks in welded areas of the bridge were first detected 30 years ago or more and should have triggered earlier action. Fortunately, these structural concerns were identified before anybody was hurt.
The bridge was built in 1962. It is troubling that even recent bridge inspectors gave the State of Indiana “incorrect advice” according to the FHWA. Hopefully, other states will learn from this and pay extra attention to 1960-era bridges made with steel more susceptible to cracking and that were welded using old techniques.
Eighty thousand vehicles used the bridge each day, nearly then thousand of them are trucks. It has been announced that the bridge will not need to be replaced; repairs are ongoing, as is well-known by people in New Albany and others who use I-64 across the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky. The Indiana Department of Transportation reports that it plans for the repairs to be complete in 135 days. http://1.usa.gov/zH9LC
Michael Leizerman is a truck accident attorney who blogs about events relevant to highway safety.