The project to repair the bridge on Watson School Road in Grayson County began this week.

Originally identified for funding under the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Bridging Kentucky Program, county and state officials say they have worked to move the project along as quickly as possible following the closure of the bridge last year.

Deck removal and repair of abutments are the first steps in the project, and the contractor, Scott & Murphy Incorporated, expects to set new beams on the bridge in mid-February, according to a KYTC news release.

Then, when asphalt suppliers begin their annual production season in late March, a new overlay will be placed on the bridge, after which guardrail will be installed.

While the contractor anticipates opening the bridge in April, weather can heavily impact progression of the construction schedule, according to KYTC District 4 spokesman Chris Jessie.

Work was expected to begin Monday, but it was delayed one day due to heavy rainfall, and crews tore off decking beginning on Tuesday. Jessie said Monday’s rain did not affect the overall anticipated schedule.

The project was awarded to Scott & Murphy Incorporated on Dec. 2, 2020. The contract amount is $177,969, nearly $109,000 below the letting estimate, according to Jessie.

KYTC notified the county in April of last year that the bridge would have to be closed due to deteriorating steel girders beneath it.

According to Grayson County Judge Executive Kevin Henderson, the Watson School Road bridge was scheduled to be replaced during Fiscal Year 2019-2020 as part of the state’s Bridging Kentucky program, which was established to rehabilitate or replace bridges across Kentucky, but funding for this project and many others was frozen by the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a recent Facebook update on the project, Henderson apologized for the inconvenience caused by the bridge closure over the past year.

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