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Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:26 PM

Major north/south Ohio river bridge closed at Cincinnati, I-71 and I-75 corridor.

Last edited Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:00 PM - Edit history (1)

Article on the vehicle crash causing the double-decker bridge to be closed:

911 calls from Brent Spence Bridge crash: 'My truck's on fire big time. God almighty'
Sarah Brookbank, Cameron Knight
Cincinnati Enquirer
November 12, 2020

Link: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2020/11/12/911-calls-brent-spence-bridge-crash-my-trucks-fire-big-time-god-almighty/6265341002/

Excerpts:
When a truck hauling potassium hydroxide crashed into a jackknifed truck on the Brent Spence Bridge at 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, the driver didn't have time to grab the hazmat paperwork before jumping out of the vehicle, according to 911 calls.

Driver's 911 calls from the crash on the northbound deck of Brent Spence Bridge describe moments of chaos as they try to distance themselves from the crash.

The Old Dominion semi driver who crashed into a jackknifed truck tells dispatchers that he's carrying Hazmat but does not know what it was.
+++
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said a commercial motor vehicle truck jackknifed for an unknown reason before being struck by the Old Dominion truck carrying potassium hydroxide crashed into it. Emergency management personnel said 400 gallons of diesel fuel was the main cause of the fire. The fire, which burned for two hours, burned at up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, investigators said.

The Brent Spence Bridge is closed until further notice and inspections could take days.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday's fiery crash on the Brent Spence Bridge should be an impetus for Ohio and Kentucky coming together to get the long-promised expansion project completed. Beshear said that inspectors made it on to the bridge Thursday morning to begin an examination of the damage the collision between two trucks caused.

Beshear told Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents to prepare for its primary river crossing to be closed into December. "We are looking at weeks, perhaps more than a month," Beshear said Thursday. "We have repairs that will take weeks to execute."


++++

Excerpts from KY Gov. Beshear's email to us today:

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2020) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Jim Gray provided a public update on the progress of an emergency project to repair and reopen the fire-damaged Brent Spence Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati, Ohio.

The bridge, which carries Interstate Highways 71 and 75 across the Ohio River, was closed to traffic in the wake of a crash early Wednesday morning involving two commercial motor vehicles that sparked an intense fire. Crews worked through the night, Wednesday into Thursday, to clear the bridge of debris and allow access to a corps of about 20 inspectors and engineers.

“Everyone recognizes the importance of the Brent Spence Bridge and the entire I-71 and I-75 corridor. We are committed – fully committed – to reopening this bridge as quickly as we can, provided it is fully safe for everyone that would cross it,” the Governor said. “I want to emphasize our need for patience and also planning for your personal and business disruption that’s going to be occurring for at least the next several weeks. We need a little patience as well until we can give you an official timeline.”

Secretary Gray spent Thursday at the bridge and offered this assessment of damage and the challenge ahead.

“We are taking vigorous steps with the most talented engineers in order to assess the damage and get the bridge reopened to traffic,” Secretary Gray said. “But we know under fully the best case, we have repairs that will take weeks to execute. So, it is important that our businesses, our commercial traffic and residents prepare for this.”


(on edit) Kentucky Transportation Cabinet page on this incident with regular updates:

Link: https://transportation.ky.gov/DistrictSix/Pages/Brent-Spence-Bridge-Update.aspx

++++

That is an extremely busy crossing and I suppose traffic will have to travel around the Cincinnati loop interstate I-275 that has two additional bridges to the east and west but at considerably more distance for through traffic.

Going to be one hell of a mess for holiday travelers.

KY

31 replies, 1834 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Major north/south Ohio river bridge closed at Cincinnati, I-71 and I-75 corridor. (Original post)
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 OP
Dagstead Bumwood Nov 2020 #1
MyOwnPeace Nov 2020 #3
LSFL Nov 2020 #2
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #6
LSFL Nov 2020 #8
dsc Nov 2020 #4
maxsolomon Nov 2020 #31
Chin music Nov 2020 #5
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #9
Buckeye_Democrat Nov 2020 #7
Blue_true Nov 2020 #10
ProfessorGAC Nov 2020 #12
Blue_true Nov 2020 #13
ProfessorGAC Nov 2020 #18
BumRushDaShow Nov 2020 #21
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #19
ProfessorGAC Nov 2020 #23
Klaralven Nov 2020 #24
ProfessorGAC Nov 2020 #27
BumRushDaShow Nov 2020 #11
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #14
BumRushDaShow Nov 2020 #15
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #16
BumRushDaShow Nov 2020 #20
smirkymonkey Nov 2020 #17
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #22
smirkymonkey Nov 2020 #25
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #30
JesterCS Nov 2020 #26
Norbert Nov 2020 #28
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 2020 #29

Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:31 PM

1. Say, whatever did happen to that darn infrastructure week?

That bridge is a ticking time bomb. You can't go park or walk near the damn thing for fear of a large chunk of it breaking off.

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Response to Dagstead Bumwood (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:36 PM

3. I think "infrastructure week"

is scheduled to happen about a week after the "most amazing, cheapest, bestest healthcare plan" is released.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:33 PM

2. Thanks for this man

I gotta drop in Cincy tomorrow morning. Now I can get an early start and hopefully hit a loop bridge before things get nucking futs.

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Response to LSFL (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:47 PM

6. You made my day! Glad it helped. Just saw the Gov's email and said "holy shit'.

I've taken all the routes many times (east, through town and west) but mostly the east bridge heading east to eastern Ohio on service jobs. Lordy, that is one hell of a long loop. Had to hit the west route a few times to the airport and to a power plant over that way.

Can't imagine what the locals that work in the city or Covington/Florence will do through all this......

KY

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:53 PM

8. I know

If I lived in Florence (y'all) I think I would play sick for a few weeks. I just go there every few months.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:42 PM

4. It is the worst bridge in the country

in terms of need and expense to replace. It should be noted that going east the next interstate is I77 which is about 150 miles or so east. I am not sure what it is going west. I know there is I275 and US routes but still.

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Response to dsc (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 13, 2020, 04:36 PM

31. 471 bridge is a mile east, leads to 275, and thence to 75 or 71

bad but not as bad as you note.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)


Response to Chin music (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:55 PM

9. Yep, double-decker carrying I-75 and I-71 right over the Ohio into downtown Cincinnati.

It's all completely out now and inspection teams on-site.

And you're right, I'm sure a lot of very nasty chemicals and diesel oil got washed into the river by the fire trucks.

One of the Governor's notes on the river being closed:

3 p.m.

In coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Ohio River for commercial and recreational water vessels, has reopened.


KY

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 07:49 PM

7. Holeee shiiiit. That's indeed a very busy bridge.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:04 PM

10. The Potassium Hydroxide wouldn't be a problem unless the containment opened

and there was heavy rain or the second truck fell into the river. I am not sure whether diesel fuel would be risky around that chemical. Maybe you know EnviroGuy, since this is more down your wheelhouse?

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:12 PM

12. It's An Old Dominion Truck

Those are usually box trucks. They might do it, but I've never seen an Old Dominion tank trailer. I didn't see anything on their website about bulk liquid hauling.
So, this might have been plastic open head drums, or carboys of KOH pellets. Or pallets of bags or supersaks.
It might be a solid.
As you said, the diesel fuel is a bigger concern, except for clean up.
The biggest fear is, if it gets wet, it can cause metathesis of the calcium ions in the concrete. Major cracking & spalling if that happens. Concrete isn't concrete with monovalent ions.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:21 PM

13. I was assuming that the KOH was solid. But liquid would be even worse in a way.

Good point in the last sentence. I have seen concrete “decompose” when exposed to some chemicals, but never understood the chemistry.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:55 PM

18. Back In The 80s...

...I actually worked on some metathesis reaction, in the other direction. Replacing sodium with calcium or magnesium, in a system where the organic anion was fragile.
Never even got as far as scale up, because our preliminary cost model suggested it would be really expensive.
Getting simple sodium salts to convert to calcium ions is hard. It's really slow going that way, but 2.5 orders of magnitude faster (at least) displacing weak cations with stronger ones. That could do a lot of damage to concrete in a big hurry.
Then, the heat of solution would increase that rate of metathetic exchange.
I worked on some covalent metathesis reactions that were more successful.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 09:19 PM

21. KOH is a very strong reactive base

and is a stronger base than NaOH. That was actually my concern seeing this article because it wasn't clear whether the tank with the stuff was breached or not. I guess they'll obviously be looking at that too.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 09:04 PM

19. From the photos below, appears to be a smaller truck carrying drums...

and the big semi was carrying the 400 gal. of diesel. You can see drums sitting on the deck next to a truck's remains. If plastic, from the looks of that fire, some had to be melted.

I'm sure they'll be doing a lot of testing on that concrete. Maybe even x-rays on some of the steel.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 09:36 PM

23. Highly Alkaline Substances Should Not...

...affect the steel.
Liquid KOH, (45%) can be stored in carbon steel tanks. In fact, it's the most common, followed by fiberglass reinforced polypropylene. Stainless steel is bad because some grades of KOH have enough chloride to bring stress cracking into play. Chlorides & stainless don't play well together!
The heat from the fire would seem to be the bigger concern with the steel. Overheating steel already under load has to be a structural concern.
Cleaning up spilled crystal KOH is a drag, because it's hygroscopic. Gets clumpy & sticky. And washing it off is a bad idea, because the pH impact on the river would be a big deal. A little base with a pKa of nearly 16 goes a long way toward messing up the water.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 09:58 PM

24. There's a lot of water in the Ohio

Would that amount of lye affect the pH that much?

Lye is basically drain cleaner.

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Response to Klaralven (Reply #24)

Fri Nov 13, 2020, 06:52 AM

27. It Would

Not up & down for 10s of miles, but for about a mile.
A 4% solution of potash has a pH of 13.
And pH drops inversely exponentially with dilution.
So, it takes quite a lot of water to get the pH below 8.
Because of the density differences, there'd be strata of concentration until diffusion kicks in.
Some eddy effects from the flow of the river would help mixing, though. It would just be the damage for a few hundred feet down river.
What I would do is neutralize with a dilute solution of acetic acid. (Essentially, white vinegar.). Potassium acetate is a salt that has very little to no immediate danger to life & health, even to aquatic life. And handling the dilute acetic is not a highly hazardous job for those doing it.
But, you are correct that dilution is the solution, ultimately. I'd rather be diluting a potassium salt than KOH.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:06 PM

11. It was bad enough that I-75 was always "under construction" along the length for years.





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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:33 PM

14. Thanks for those pix. I can see why they're concerned about structural damage....

and it's an old, very heavily traveled bridge to boot.

Notes from KYTC web site:

At approximately 2:45 a.m. EST November 11, 2020, a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) truck jackknifed while driving northbound (lower deck) on the Brent Spence Bridge. Officials do not know why the truck jackknifed.

After the CMV truck jackknifed, a second truck carrying potassium hydroxide crashed into it.

The collision caused a fire on the bridge. Emergency management personnel said 400 gallons of diesel fuel was the main cause of the fire. An unknown amount of diesel fuel spilled and burned in the fire. The fire has been contained.

Both northbound and southbound I-75 lanes have been closed to allow clean-up efforts and engineers to inspect the bridge.

The Brent Spence was built in 1963 is a sound bridge. The Brent Spence expansion project was to build an additional bridge, not a replacement bridge.

The bridge cannot be examined for damage until it cools down enough to be safe for inspectors. The fire burned at up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Traffic will be detoured to I-275 and I-471.


KY

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:46 PM

15. I remember years ago walking across one of the adjacent bridges into Covington and back

(may have been the Clay Wade Bailey bridge). I was collecting state key chains wherever I traveled and wanted to get a KY one, so found a little store near the bridge and snagged one and walked back over to Cincinnati.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:54 PM

16. That's dedication to a hobby. During my travels, I collected the little state thimbles....

to bring home to the ladies.

In our governor's email, he said....

KYTC is working with officials on both the Ohio and Kentucky sides of the river to reopen the historic Roebling Bridge, upriver from the Brent Spence, to passenger traffic. Covington police closed the bridge to motor vehicles Wednesday night after large commercial trucks were seen going onto the bridge in defiance of its 11-ton weight limit and posted warning signs. The pedestrian walkway is open to foot traffic.


I've enjoyed visiting the Cincinnati Zoo and the Aquarium in Covington with family and of course, King's Island a time or two.

I'm retired in the Louisville area and have not been to that area in years. Just worn out on travel, I guess.

KY......

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 09:12 PM

20. On another trip to Cincinnaiti

(and as a note, my sis used to live in that area for a bunch of years before coming home here to the Philly area, and her hubby is from Dayton, with family still there) I hopped on a Greyhound bus to Indianapolis for the same reason. And at the time, IN didn't change for DST so the time change thing was a bit of a mess to calculate how many hours the bus trip was based on the printed schedule.

Yeah and being down in Louisville, that's quite a bit away. I will say that it was my first time being in a hotel where instead of having a "What to do in case of a fire" notice on the hotel room door, there was a "What to do in case of a tornado" sign.

One of my former work buddies who lived there, had a trailer in IN along one of the OH river tributaries and had a 32ft boat that her and her hubby would take out into the OH river, and I can proudly say that yes, I have Sea-Dooed in the OH River, with the barges going by and everything.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:55 PM

17. I think I have been over that bridge many times in my way from COV to our

headquarters in Cinci. It's a very highly travelled bridge. It's a good thing we are all WFH and nobody is travelling these days because that would be a serious problem.

Do you live near Covington, KY_EnviroGuy? I was also pleased to see that Cinci went blue in the presidential election! Now we just have to work a bit more on northern Kentucky!

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 09:19 PM

22. No, SM I'm in the Louisville area but prior to retirement....

I went through Cinci heading to service jobs all over Ohio many, many times. I always dreading driving back up that big hill when heading home, LOL. Some Cinci people drive like maniacs.

I was just telling another poster (above) I enjoyed the Cinci Zoo and Newport (Covington) Aquarium and Kings Island when the kids were young. Would love to go back to the first two but not Kings Island.

I must confess I traveled so much for so long, I've never learned much about the Kentucky Democratic Party organization except they're in Frankfort and I contribute to them. My son and myself are considering getting involved with the local party group whenever this damned virus eases up. They have monthly meetings in an IBEW Union hall not terribly far from where I live and it sounds like fun.

Never too late to get involved, I suppose.......

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 09:59 PM

25. Good for you KY_EnviroGuy for getting involved (eventually)

We need all the help we can get in that part of the country. I have no idea why they are so backward other than that they are poorly educated.

I thnk Cinci would have been red if not for the influence of my company. I am grateful for that, at least.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #25)

Fri Nov 13, 2020, 04:32 PM

30. Wow. Trying not to be nosy SM,but what area of commerce do you work in....

that could have that degree of influence?

Whatever it is, we need more of it!......

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2020, 10:14 PM

26. I live north of the bridge about 30 miles.

It's a mess, they're saying couple weeks to more than a month before it will be open again

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Nov 13, 2020, 07:32 AM

28. Last I heard the heat was so intense it changed the mechanical properties of the steel.

One of the ideas is to cut that section out and install a retrofitted section in it's place. I will be very tricky. The section will no doubt be quite heavy, they are working several hundred feet from the river and how much equipment can be near the cutout section.

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Response to Norbert (Reply #28)

Fri Nov 13, 2020, 04:26 PM

29. Thanks. Here's an update I found on that subject.

Brent Spence Bridge could be closed for more than a month following fiery crash
Inspectors looking for damage done to nearly 60 year-old double-decker bridge

WLWT
Updated: 5:55 PM EST Nov 12, 2020
Todd Dykes, Investigative Reporter

From: https://www.wlwt.com/article/brent-spence-bridge-could-be-closed-for-more-than-a-month-following-fiery-crash/34660147

When he saw the crash and fire, structural engineer James Swanson started thinking about how to get traffic moving again.

"As a structural engineer, the first concern that I would have would be – how high was the temperature and how long was the steel subjected to that temperature?" Swanson said. Swanson directs the University of Cincinnati's civil engineering program.

"They’re trying to determine whether the steel has been altered mechanically. If you have a temperature that’s high enough, you could change the grain structure of the steel. You could affect its strength," he said.

Swanson knows drivers in Greater Cincinnati and elsewhere hope the Brent Spence Bridge reopens soon, but he's inclined to think repairs could take a while.

"If they were to open it prematurely and then something actually failed, then the closure period would be longer in the end, and then we could have the potential for loss of life or even something more catastrophic," Swanson said.

Inspectors are expected to keep examining the bridge until at least Saturday.

Swanson said they may take a sample of the steel that burned and do a strength test on it at a lab that could get results back quickly.

KY

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