News and Tribune

December 12, 2012

Big Four rules

June timeline for ramp opening

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Big Four Bridge is expected to open soon, but how soon is still unknown.

Waterfront Development Corp. President David Karem said that it is expected that the former railroad bridge being transformed into a bicycle and pedestrian bridge will open some time this month. However, he was unable to offer a definitive date.

Pedestrians and bicyclists, once the span is open, will be able to cross the Ohio River. However, they will not be able to reach solid ground again until they turn back around and head back to waterfront park.

And once the bridge is open to traffic, it is expected to be a popular attraction.

“It is clearly the most anticipated piece of the park,” Karem said. “Every time we do a presentation, people ask when is it going to be open. It is an unbelievably spectacular sight.”

Kentucky completed its ramp and paving for the pedestrian pathway and is putting the final touches on the railings before it opens the bridge to traffic.

Indiana is in the midst of constructing its ramp that will eventually connect to the bridge and will land at Market and Pearl streets in Jeffersonville.

Greg Prince, media relations director for the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Seymour district, said the Indiana portion of the project is expected to be completed some time in June.

A deadline of April had previously been offered, but Prince said it was likely a hopeful deadline and will not be met.

“I don’t think the concrete deck work will be complete in April,” he said.

Prince added that there was nothing that has delayed the project and he said it is expected that construction work will continue as long as the weather complies.

Also, a lighting contract for the Indiana side of the bridge is expected to be let in February.

Last week the Waterfront Development Corp. approved a list of rules and regulations that will be enforced when it opens later in the month.

Among the rules and regulations approved were the bridge will be open 24-hours-a-day, every day of the year except for Thunder Over Louisville, for weather related events or if major repairs are needed.

The bridge has been designed for pedestrians and bicyclists — no motorized bicycles will be allowed — or which a lane will be provided. Licensed vendors, security and service vehicles, emergency vehicles and pets will also be allowed on the bridge. Pets must be on a leash and it is required that owners must clean up after their pets.

Modes of transportation that are prohibited from being on the bridge are in-line skates, rollers skates, skateboards, there is no sledding or ice skating allowed and no motorized vehicles will be permitted on the bridge.

In addition, federal, state and local laws will apply, there is no disruptive behavior, climbing, jumping or diving, no throwing any objects from the bridge, no littering, no sleeping or camping on the bridge and no portable restrooms allowed.