Lane closures on Ohio River bridge extended for repairs

A bridge over the Ohio River that connects Kentucky and Indiana needs repair work, which means some lanes will be closed longer than expected, officials said.

The three left lanes of the Interstate 65 Kennedy Bridge were closed Monday for an inspection and crews determined an expansion joint needed to be repaired, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said in a statement.

Three of the six bridge lanes connecting Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, will remain closed until the repairs are completed to avoid damaging vehicles traveling across the span, the statement said. A timeline for repairs wasn’t given.

Expansion joints allow the bridge to expand and contract with temperature, officials said. The structural integrity of the bridge is not affected.

Last stretch of upgraded West Virginia highway to reopen

The last stretch of U.S. 35 to be widened to four lanes is expected to open to traffic by the end of August after years of planning, West Virginia officials said.

The 15-mile segment is the last part of U.S. 35 from Interstate 64 to the West Virginia-Ohio state line to be upgraded, according to a news release Tuesday from Gov. Jim Justice and the state Department of Transportation. The project’s cost was $255 million, the release said.

The section goes from the Beech Hill community in Mason County to the Buffalo Bridge in Putnam County.

The project included eight bridges and a new interchange at the junction of U.S. 35 and West Virginia 869. It is a public-private partnership between the Division of Highways and Bizzack Construction Co. of Lexington, Kentucky.

Report: Pilot reported engine trouble before fatal crash

The pilot of a small experimental plane reported engine trouble before the aircraft crashed in eastern Kentucky killing him, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pilot Timothy Michael Pankiewicz, 62, had flown out of Green Cove Springs, Florida, where he lived, the agency said in its report, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The pilot declared an emergency in the experimental, amateur-built Rans RV-8 as he flew over Breathitt County on May 24, telling an air traffic controller the engine had lost oil pressure and failed, the report said.

The controller told Pankiewicz about an airport three miles away, but Pankiewicz said he couldn’t see it and decided to try landing in a field, according to the NTSB report. A witness told the NTSB the plane was smoking as it flew over a mountain before it hit the ground. The wreckage was ablaze when emergency officials arrived, according to a news release.

Official findings on the cause of the crash weren’t issued and could takes months, the newspaper reported.

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