Bid awarded to replace Kennedy Mill Bridge

The contract to replace the Kennedy Mill Bridge between Mercer and Garrard counties has been awarded.

Walsh Construction Company will build the new bridge over the course of two and a half years, at a price of about $29.6 million, according to Natasha Lacy with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The project has been in the works for years. The state legislature approved funding for a replacement bridge as part of its 2016 road plan. Bids were let on March 24, and the low bidder, Walsh Construction, was chosen in early April.

The engineer’s estimate for the project was about $28.9 million. Walsh’s bid came in about $700,000 above that.

Another company — Kay & Kay Construction — bid a very similar amount of about $29.9 million, approximately $300,000 more than Walsh. Massman Construction Company bid about $32.9 million; and PCL Civil Construction bid almost $47 million.

The current bridge, which was built in 1924, has been closed repeatedly in recent years for repairs due to deterioration. The 804-foot-long bridge saw 1,438 vehicles per day in 2012 and is the only highway crossing Herrington Lake for miles around.

The contract includes demolition and removal of the existing bridge.

“The existing steel will have to be removed due to the potential of lead paint remaining on the structure,” Lacy wrote in an email. “The existing concrete piers will be removed to a depth 50 feet below low pool elevation.”

Walsh will have to complete the new bridge by Nov. 29, 2019, or face “liquidated damages” if the work is not done, Lacy said.

Further repairs necessary

Lacy said additional repairs will be needed to keep Kennedy Mill Bridge open during construction of the new bridge.

“Department engineers will evaluate the existing bridge and determine the extent of repairs needed,” Lacy wrote. “Since the plan has not yet been completed, we do not have a duration of the closure necessary to complete these repairs to report at this time.”

Kennedy Mill Bridge was last closed in September 2015 for repairs. It was reopened seven months later, in April 2016.

Subsurface sonar revealed “something under the bridge,” according to Lacy. But “it was not in the way of the new bridge construction, so no further exploration was deemed necessary.”

Kentucky Utilities has agreed to allow access to a boat ramp for “staging and construction” activities, but Walsh has not confirmed if they will use the ramp, Lacy said.