The original date for Indiana’s ramp to open was in April, but delays largely tied to a change in the lighting plan for the ramp have pushed the anticipated contract completion date to Oct. 31.
“In some ways I almost think the delay in the Big Four is a blessing in disguise [so] we can get this done first,” Corbin said.
BRINGING IN BUSINESS
With the completion of one side of the Big Four Bridge ramp and the anticipated completion of the Indiana ramp, Ellis said more interest is being generated for businesses to locate in the city.
“We’ve seen a pretty dramatic increase of the number of meetings and calls of people wanting to have start-ups,” he said. “I think it’s going to have a phenomenal effect,” he said of gateway construction.
And the purpose will be to drive those visitors into the shops and restaurants within the historic district.
“If those people are going to be coming across the bridge, we want to bring them [in] and showcase downtown Jeffersonville,” Ellis said. “This project is going to reinforce and beautify a critical link between the Big Four Bridge and Spring Street. Thousands of people, when they come off that bridge, this will be their gateway to historic downtown Jeffersonville.”
A recent count of users entering on the Kentucky side of the Big Four Bridge during a nine-day period showed that 45,000 pedestrians and 4,500 bicyclists accessed the bridge.
Because of the anticipated flood of people, business in the area is gearing up. Pearl Street Treats, a frozen yogurt shop, is planned near the foot of the Big Four Bridge ramp. Red Yeti, a brew pub at the corner of Chestnut and Spring streets, is expected to open this fall, and the town is still in discussions with two other restaurants to locate in the area.