The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) recognized significant deficiencies in two of their cable stay (CS) bridges across the Ohio River. Burgess & Niple’s team (B&N) was selected to inspect, perform non-destructive testing (NDT), and generate rehabilitation plans to extend the service life and preservation of the two structures. The William H. Natcher Bridge is a cable stay structure measuring 4,505 feet in length. It is supported by 96 stay cables connected to two identical diamond-shaped towers: each 374 feet tall. At the time of its construction in 2002, it was the longest stay cable-supported bridge over an inland waterway in the U.S. The William H. Harsha Bridge is 2,420 feet in length. The superstructure of the Harsha Bridge is supported by 80 stay cables connected to two identical two-plane semi-harped towers.
Specialized testing procedures included invasive testing, NDT, technical rope access, and UAS/Drones to ascertain the conditions of the cable stay systems. The tests identified significant deficiencies, including cracking in the stay cable piping, grout voids at the connection sleeves, and exposed stay cable tendons. Additionally, signs of water intrusion into the stay cable piping and anchors were evident. Project work is ongoing, repair options and associated cost estimates are being evaluated, and rehabilitation plans will be developed to address the identified deficiencies on these signature structures.