The left lanes in each direction on Court Avenue at Spring Street will be designated left turn-only lanes to ease congestion stemming from the Ohio River Bridges Project beginning Tuesday.
Blake Morris with Walsh Construction announced Wednesday at a Jeffersonville Board of Public Works meeting that the parking spaces along eastbound Court Avenue between Pearl and Spring streets will be removed Tuesday to accommodate an additional lane of traffic, as left-turn lanes would be added on Court in each direction. However, the removal of the parking spaces was nixed later that same day.
The traffic-pattern change did not require a vote of the board Wednesday, as a vote had been taken on the issue last year, said City Engineer Andy Crouch.
Walsh Construction is managing the work on the downtown crossing of the Ohio River Bridges Project, and the changes downtown are being made to accommodate increased traffic caused by motorists following designated detours for Interstate 65.
Mayor Mike Moore, who serves as the president of the board of public works, said that the inconveniences caused by the bridges project can be frustrating, but “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
“You know what those orange cones are?” Moore asked, quoting a business leader that Moore recently met with. “That’s progress.”
The news of the traffic changes surprised Bernie Pasquantino, owner of Adrienne & Co. The company’s customers regularly use the parking spaces that were set to be removed, and Pasquantino said no one from his company was asked about it.
“We’re all for progress, we’re all for expanding downtown Jeff. We know that’s a good thing for us in the long run,” Pasquantino said. “But when it’s something that directly affects our business, it would be nice to be communicated with about it.”
Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Zone Director Kelly Phillips spoke with Pasquantino on Wednesday afternoon and informed him that the parking spaces in front of his business will remain. Instead, the left lane of Court Avenue will become a left-turn only lane, while the right lane will be for through traffic, Phillips said.
Walsh Construction was supposed to consult with local businesses prior to making the change but did not, Pasquantino said he was told by Phillips. Pasquantino said he was grateful to the city for addressing his concerns.
Max Rowland, communications project manager for Walsh, said that the construction of the new downtown bridge will cause week-long closures along Market Street and Riverside Drive near the site of the new bridge’s north approach.
Market Street will close for one week during the first week of August, with traffic diverted to Riverside Drive. Two weeks later, traffic from Riverside Drive will be diverted to Market Street.
FIRE TRUCK APPROVAL
The board unanimously approved a contract with Ferrara Fire Apparatus for about $860,000 for the purchase of a new ladder truck, contingent upon approval of funding from the Jeffersonville City Council.
The new truck will replace one that was totaled in an accident May 10. The city was compensated about $260,000 by insurance when the truck was totaled.
Corporation Attorney Les Merkley told the board that a consensus existed on the city council supporting the purchase. The approximately $600,000 needed for the sale will likely come from local option income tax funds, said Jeffersonville Fire Chief Eric Hedrick.
The ladder truck lost in the accident was a 75-foot truck, and the new one will be a 107-foot truck, Hedrick said. Hedrick said the larger truck is better suited to fighting potential blazes at the River Ridge Commerce Center and the Port of Indiana — Jeffersonville.