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News Item #1545
[KY 2155]
"Blue Bridge" in Owensboro gets route number change
Posted: 10-Sep-2015 3:01PM CDT

Some historical information form the Department of Highways District 2 about the renumbering of the route carried by the Glover Cary Bridge in downtown Owensboro (dated Sept. 20, 2011):

‘Blue Bridge’ in Owensboro gets route number change
It closed as KY 2155 Ohio River Bridge, to reopen as KY 2262 Ohio River Bridge

OWENSBORO, Ky. – The KY 2155 Ohio River Bridge – known locally as the “Blue Bridge” and the Glover Cary Bridge in downtown Owensboro – is closed for a deck rehabilitation project.  When it reopens, the bridge will have a new route designation.  It will become the KY 2262 Ohio River Bridge.

The new designation, part of a larger re-routing set off by relocation of U.S. 60, has considerable precedent. When constructed in 1940, the Blue Bridge carried KY 75 across the Ohio River into Indiana.  In the mid-1950s, U.S. 231 was constructed through the area and routed over the Blue Bridge – only to be re-routed in 2002 to cross the new William Natcher Bridge upstream near Maceo.  Since then, the Blue Bridge has carried KY 2155 across the Ohio River to a connection with Indiana 161.

KYTC Chief District Highway Engineer Kevin McClearn said the latest route number change should go more smoothly by coinciding with the temporary bridge closure.

“We realized this route designation change had the potential to cause some confusion,” McClearn said.  “We chose to make the official number switch while the bridge was closed to traffic to help make that transition a bit smoother.

McClearn says the route number changes required to maintain key state highway connections in the downtown area should be almost unnoticed by local commuters, but may have some consequences for cross-country travelers.

“We fully expect most people in the Owensboro area to continue to refer to it as the Blue Bridge, so for local commuters the change probably won’t mean much,” McClearn said.  “If you are a cross-country traveler using an Atlas or a GPS unit to navigate state highways the numbers may be confusing for a time.  For our purposes, the Blue Bridge will now officially be known as the KY 2262 Ohio River Bridge.”

The Transportation Cabinet has sent the route change to companies that supply highway information to GPS manufacturers.  It generally takes three to six months for highway updates to get into the national computer database for GPS owners to upload and put into everyday use, and for installation in new GPS units on the shelf. The route mile points and numbers have already been changed in KYTC maps and route logs available at www.transportation.ky.gov .

McClearn said the change of route numbers should affect few Owensboro addresses since most consist of street names instead of route numbers in the city limits.  Among the more noticeable changes, US 60 was removed from downtown Owensboro making the former US 60 Bypass the official route for US 60 through the city.

“I’m sure for years to come people will continue to refer to it as the US 60 Owensboro Bypass, but it is now officially US 60/The Wendell Ford Expressway.  As a result of that change, US 431 now ends at US 60 near the Mall.” McClearn noted.  The old route of US 431 into downtown Owensboro along Frederica Street is now KY 2831.  There were some additional minor route number changes to make everything connect.”

KY 331 has been extended westward from Industrial Drive along Henderson Road following the old route of US 60 on the eastside of Owensboro to connect with US 60 near the Green River Development District Office.

“We have already changed the mile points along US 60 from the eastside of Owensboro to the Daviess-Hancock County line to account for the mileage change,” McClearn said.  “As far as possible, our traffic engineering crew took advantage of the 3-month closure of the Blue Bridge to get the new signage in place.”

As part of ongoing work on the US 60 Extension Project east of Owensboro additional signs along US 60/The Wendell Ford Expressway will be upgraded, including updating of exit numbers.

The renumbering of the Blue Bridge and having multiple names for a bridge is not unusual. “We generally refer to a bridge by the route number it carries.  The Coast Guard generally refers to bridges by the official name such as Glover Cary Bridge.  The public will generally have a couple of nicknames for those same structures – in this case that is ‘the Blue Bridge,’” McClearn said.

The Blue Bridge – also known as the Glover Cary Bridge – now connects KY 2262 with Indiana 161.  Approximately 8,500 vehicles cross the KY 2262 Ohio River Bridge between Kentucky and Indiana in an average day.

 
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Updated: 10-Sep-2015 3:01PM CDT

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