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July 8, 2013

Fewer lanes, bigger delays: Ohio River Bridge Project closures about to start

Commuters beware: The closures related to the Ohio River Bridges Project that have been talked about for months will soon become a reality.

The longest closures of the project are set to go into effect Monday, July 15, and will remain in place for about three years. The ramp from Interstate 64 east to Interstate 65 south will be closed for that duration, and I-65 will be reduced from three lanes to two from the Jefferson Street ramp to Muhammad Ali Boulevard starting Monday through 2016.

To prepare for the Interstate 64 east to Interstate 65 south ramp closure, project planners began a series of preparatory closures Monday night.

The overnight closures included the left lane of I-65 south from the Kennedy Bridge to Muhammad Ali Boulevard, which will be closed from 9 p.m. Monday, July 8, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, July 9; and the left lane of I-65 north from Muhammad Ali Boulevard to the Kennedy Bridge will be closed from 9 p.m. Monday, July 8, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, July 9.

Beginning Tuesday evening, the left lane of the ramp from I-64 west to I-65 south will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday, July 10; and the right lane of I-65 south at the Jefferson Street exit ramp, and the left lane of the exit ramp, will be closed from 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, to 5 a.m. Wednesday, July 10.

But among the most immediate and significant traffic changes will be a series of lane closures to the I-65 Kennedy Bridge occurring over two weeks in July.

KENNEDY CLOSURES

When the I-64 eastbound ramp to I-65 southbound ramp closes for an estimated 1,000 days, lanes will also be closing on southbound I-65. Chad Carlton, spokesman for the Ohio River Bridges Project, said the far right lane on the Kennedy Bridge will be closed starting Monday.

According to a press release, Walsh Design Build Team will be inspecting the Kennedy Bridge to finalize design plans for the redecking work slated to take place in 2016.

Carlton said despite a previous plan to conduct the inspections during off-peak hours, to maximize the amount of daylight, the Walsh team will be doing inspections during the day. He added that motorists will still be able access the exit ramps off of the Kennedy Bridge to I-71 northbound and I-64 westbound.

The closure is expected to limit traffic to two lanes for about a week southbound, and starting July 19, a transition will take place to move from the southbound portion of the bridge to northbound I-65. During the transition, which could begin as early as the evening of July 19, northbound bridge traffic will be limited to one lane, Carlton said. Only one lane will be open northbound during the July 19-21 weekend, but starting Monday, July 22, two northbound bridge lanes will be open.

The inspection and the lane closures are expected to end by July 26.

However, all of this is weather dependent, Carlton said.

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