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Clark County

February 22, 2008

Jeffersonville officials want redesigns for Big Four project

Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan is pushing for another redesign in the effort to make the Big Four Bridge a bicycle and pedestrian crossing between Southern Indiana and Louisville.

Plans for the structure have fluctuated since he took office in early January. A new alternative design released last week is drawing criticism from city officials.

Initially, the design was to have a sidewalk-like approach stretch from beneath the bridge out over the Ohio River and then double back onto the bridge deck.

The plans submitted recently would do about the same. However, a column would be constructed on the water’s edge up to the bridge, which would be used as support for wider, and thus heavier, sidewalks.

The proposed design was submitted by planning firm RW Armstrong, which Galligan said was hired by the previous city administration. He called the plan flawed, in that its designers did not get the approval of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which have jurisdiction over the river and the flood plain.

Jim Urban, the city’s planning director, said he’s unsure permits could even be granted for the plan because it requires building a column in the flood plain.

“And the other thing was, it was just absolutely unsightly,” Galligan said. “And what we’re trying to do is not make it unsightly, make it attractive.”

Galligan has said he wants a sidewalk that spirals up from Mulberry Street, over the city’s floodwall and then onto the bridge deck.

He believes such a design would not only be more attractive, but would also allow for a wider approach and a not-as-steep incline from the street to the bridge deck.

The sidewalks need to be 17-feet wide, he said. The original plan only drew sidewalks about 8-feet wide, the follow-up that was presented last week made them only 12-feet wide.

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