Across America, aging roads, bridges and transit systems are in desperate need of repair.
A few weeks ago, I visited a bridge connecting Louisville, KY with New Albany, IN that is the epitome of this situation. In case you haven’t heard, the Sherman Minton bridge on I-64 across the Ohio River, has been shut down indefinitely because of dangerous cracking after decades of overuse.
Last Friday, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez returned to the bridge and announced some exciting news: the team of professionals who have been laser-focused on this bridge for several weeks have developed a fix that will repair it and ensure it will once again safely serve the tens of thousands of drivers who use I-64 on a daily basis to cross the river.
To repair the Sherman Minton, new steel plating will be installed along both sides of the bridge tie that runs horizontally along the entire 1,600-foot structure. This will increase the bridge’s safety and reliability, and the repairs will give the bridge at least 20 more years of useful life.
I would like to thank Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear for their leadership and commitment to working together with DOT and the Federal Highway Administration to resolve this situation. We appreciate the great partnership we have with both states, and their commitment to safety.
But there is no doubt that this bridge is a stark reminder of our aging infrastructure, and there are many, many more roads, bridges and transit systems across the country that need rebuilding.
This is also a good reminder for why we must pass the American Jobs Act so construction workers can get to work modernizing our roads and bridges, upgrading our runways, and repairing our rails.