Indiana’s ramp to the Big Four Bridge likely won’t be complete and open until November.
Jeffersonville City Engineer Andy Crouch said contractor Gohmann Asphalt is still on target to complete its work by Aug. 31, the date called for in the contract. However, lighting installation on the ramp won’t start until the construction is finished, and bicyclists and pedestrians won’t be able to access the bridge until the lighting has been completed.
“I can’t let people on it at that point,” Crouch said. “I’ve got to get the lighting on it as well. That takes us to November. Then we’ll let people on it.
“If the lighting contractor can get started a little early, and they can get done early, then we can get people on it earlier, but it won’t be August.”
The opening date for the Big Four Bridge had previously been bumped back to Aug. 31 as a result of the change in the lighting on the ramp. It is the third time Indiana had delayed the opening of the ramp that would connect Jeffersonville to Louisville’s Waterfront Park. Louisville’s ramp — and the bridge itself — opened in February.
“It’s frustrating,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore.
The mayor said he has had conversations with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer about the timeline, but there is little that can be done about the delay.
“They’re as frustrated as we are because people up there at the end of that bridge want to come over, and they want the people from Indiana to be able to get over to Louisville,” Moore said.
The original date for Indiana’s ramp to open was April and with the new opening date, the project is more than six months behind schedule.
A change in the lighting that was going to be installed on Indiana’s bridge ramp was cited as the reason the project was initially pushed back. Jeffersonville agreed to redesign the lights for the bridge ramp from post lighting to lights that will be installed in the ramp’s handrails.
The change was made to accommodate residents in the area of the ramp that offered their concerns about the lighting fitting in the historic Rose Hill neighborhood.
At a Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission meeting Thursday night, engineer Burleigh Law with HNTB requested additional task orders from the commission, which included $20,000 for post design services on the ramp’s lighting contract.
“The lighting and electrical post design, it’s got another, I believe, five months construction for that work to begin and it’ll be completed some time in November,” he said.
He added that the lighting and electrical post-design services were about 96 percent complete.
According to the contract with the Indiana Department of Transportation, which is managing the project, the lighting contract’s completion date is Oct. 31. Lighting contractor Hummel Electric is being paid $1.1 million — $1 million less than what the state had budgeted for the lighting on the project.
In addition, Law asked for an additional $10,000 to pay for a request-for-information on the construction of the bridge ramp, which he said was 99 percent complete.
But Redevelopment Commissioner James Lake said he was not comfortable with paying the additional money until he saw the contract for the work and the reason for so many requests-for-information. He said RFIs come from either not understanding a drawing’s specifications or the inherent complexity or unforeseen condition in the project.
The contract had 20 RFIs built into it, but to date, Law said more than 100 RFIs had been submitted.
“I don’t understand why these are all additional services,” Lake said. “To me, this should be in the scope of services in order to complete the job.”
The redevelopment commission agreed to table the requests until their next meeting to have a chance to review the contracts and the requests-for-information.