By BRADEN LAMMERS
Piers for the downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project continue to rise out of the river.
And bridge planners gave an up-close tour Thursday to several media outlets to showcase progress on the downtown portion of the project.
“There is work underway on all three of what will become the tower supports [for the bridge],” said Mindy Peterson, spokesperson for the Ohio River Bridges Project.
The piers under construction in the Ohio River will eventually become towers of the northbound portion of the Interstate 65 corridor.
Peterson said Walsh Construction crews are doing preparation work on Pier No. 3 — which is closest to the Kentucky shoreline — and Pier No. 4 has some of its drilled shafts completed. Footing will be poured on Pier No. 4 once forms have been removed from Pier No. 5, and crews are drilling now on Pier No. 6 — which is closest to the Indiana shoreline.
The pier where the most progress has been made is Pier No. 5, where a footer is being prepared to be filled with concrete.
“They are getting very close to pouring concrete on tower five, before the end of the month,” Peterson said.
Footers on Pier No. 5 will be filled with concrete, creating the waterline footing for what will become one of the bridge towers. The lower cross beam that will connect the two footings, creating a leg pedestal for the bridge, is expected to be poured this winter, according to a news release. The first Tower No. 5 leg sections are expected to be poured in the spring.
Once the towers in the water are completed crews will begin building the superstructure above the water, and crews will move onto the respective shores to begin creating the piers that are on dry land.
Peterson again said the only delay that Walsh Construction has run into is harder than expected bedrock in the riverbed.
“It has affected the speed at which they have moved, but it has not affected the schedule,” she said.
The new northbound Interstate 65 bridge is on track for its April 2016 completion date. Once the northbound bridge is completed all traffic will be transferred onto the new bridge while repairs and redecking of the Kennedy Bridge takes place to convert it into a southbound-only structure.
The downtown portion of the bridges project is expected to be completed in October 2016.