NEW ALBANY —
Ohio River Greenway Project Coordinator Shaunna Graf said the struggle to open the K & I Bridge to pedestrians could end in a lawsuit if Norfolk Southern Corp. doesn’t “play nice.”
Graf presented the New Albany Redevelopment Commission Tuesday with an annual update of the Ohio River Greenway. Along with the drive to secure more funds to complete the path, Graf said opening the K & I Bridge is a major priority, as it would connect New Albany with the Louisville neighborhood of Portland.
“It’s gotten a lot of buzz lately so I’m very happy,” she said of recent media reports from Kentucky and Indiana that have focused on reopening the railroad bridge.
The span has been closed to public transit since 1979, and Norfolk Southern has claimed there are safety and liability risks the company would assume if the bridge were reopened.
The push now is for Norfolk Southern to clearly define those concerns and their reasons for not allowing pedestrian use of the span, and officials such as U.S. Rep. Todd Young are serving as mediators in the process, Graf said.
Though Norfolk Southern is privately-owned, Graf said the matter could ultimately result in a lawsuit if the company doesn’t work with the public to address the issues.
Norfolk Southern last formally rejected a request to open the bridge in 2010. In February, Young met with railroad officials and toured the bridge, though he described his role as more of a facilitator than as a policy maker.
New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan has stated his desire to see the bridge reopened. The Louisville Metro Council has also offered a non-binding resolution requesting Norfolk Southern reopen the bridge to pedestrians and bicyclists.
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