Glover Cary Bridge

The Glover H. Cary Bridge is a continuous truss bridge that spans the Ohio River between Owensboro, Kentucky and Spencer County, Indiana. It was named for the late U.S. Congressman Glover H. Cary (1885-1936), and opened to traffic in September 1940. It was originally a toll bridge, but tolls were discontinued in 1954.

The bridge was funded through a $1.03 million federal grant, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program, and public fundraising efforts. At first, the bridge connected Kentucky Highway 75 to Indiana Highway 75; in 1954, Kentucky 75 was redesignated U.S. Highway 431 and Indiana 75 became U.S. Highway 231.

In the fall of 2002, when the William H. Natcher Bridge was completed, U.S. 231 was rerouted onto that bridge and the former U.S. highway became the southern leg of an extended State Road 161.

The bridge was closed temporarily for a day and a half the weekend of March 13, 2011, due to the need for emergency repairs to the bridge deck with traffic temporarily detoured over the William H. Natcher Bridge. Following that emergency repair, transportaiton officials pressed ahead with planning and design on a full-depth deck rehab that was already scheduled for bidding in April 2011.

In early 2011, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet renumbered the highway across the bridge (which was U.S. 231 from 1954 to 2002 and Kentucky State Route 2155 thereafter) as Kentucky State Route 2262, which is a newly-designated state highway that follows J.R. Miller Boulevard from Kentucky State Route 54 to the Indiana state line. Kentucky 2155 now terminates at the intersection of J.R. Miller Blvd. and East Fifth Street.

Trivia
  • Local residents call the Cary Bridge the "Blue Bridge" because of its color. The Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro's newspaper) sponsored a straw poll vote to determine what color to paint the bridge. Not surprisingly, blue was the overwhelming winner. Kentucky and Indiana highway officials have indicated the bridge is scheduled for repainting in about 2017 at an estimated cost of 8 to 10 million dollars.
  • The William H. Natcher Bridge was built upstream from Owensboro to provide an additional cross-river link for the region. U.S. 231 was moved to the new bridge when it opened to traffic in 2002. The Cary Bridge now carries KY State Route 2155 to connect with Indiana State Route 161 and remains a vital river crossing, carrying approximate 8,500 vehicles across the Ohio River each day. This is primarily because the Cary bridge is much closer to Owensboro proper.
  • Following the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August 2007, Kentucky officials (including Governor Ernie Fletcher), sought to reassure motorists that Kentucky's bridges are safe by conducting a special safety review of all long-span bridges at that time. The blue bridge was subject to a detailed biennial inspection in August 2008. Kentucky and Indiana highway officials conducted a joint walk-through inspection of the structure on September 22, 2008.
Condition of the Blue Bridge

On July 5, 2011, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet closed the blue bridge to all traffic for a $3 million partial rehab of the bridge deck. Hall Contracting of Louisville is the prime contractor on the 3-month project. According to Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd, this extensive deck rehab will be completed and the bridge reopened to traffic by October 3, 2011.

Closing the bridge was required to cut the project from an estimated 5 or 6 months down to 3 months to help reduce the impact to area businesses. A detour from Reo, IN, to downtown Owensboro via the US 231 Natcher Bridge adds about 10 miles and an estimated 15 minutes to a typical daily commute.

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