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April 10, 2013

Downtown bridge construction to start July 1

Tolling could begin as early as April 2016

LOUISVILLE — Construction on the downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project is set to begin July 1.

At a press conference Wednesday, transportation planners presented the plans to construct Kentucky’s portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project, which included the downtown bridge, its approaches on both sides of the Ohio River and the reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange, which is often referred to as Spaghetti Junction.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Project Manager Andy Barber said the project will be completed in 3 1/2 years, by December 2016. Walsh Design Build Team, the contracting team for the project, will complete construction of the project at an estimated cost of $860 million. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials said previously the total cost of the downtown portion of the bridges project will exceed $1 billion when counting the costs for land acquisition, utility relocation, preliminary design and consulting work, construction oversight, toll system development and other necessary items.

The right-of-way needed to construct the downtown corridor is still being purchased by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and is expected to be complete by this summer, Barber said.

“Walsh Construction has promised, and we will deliver, this project under a very aggressive timeline and construction schedule,” said Arik Quam, project manager for Walsh Design Build Team.

He said the project will be built in three sections simultaneously and eventually combined in order to meet the tight construction timeline.

“The first new bridge ... is set to open to traffic exactly three years from this month,” Barber said.

Quam said April 2016 is the timeline for when the three sections of the project will be combined.

“It’s at this important milestone that all traffic, northbound and southbound, will be placed on the new river crossing ... and then the remaining sections of the Kennedy interchange, the JFK [bridge] rehab and the Indiana approaches will be completed in that final season in 2016,” he said.

“This project will improve traffic congestion and provide for a world-class interstate system,” Quam added. “We are confident this project will be the model and the right way to construct such a mega project in an urban environment. We are enthusiastic to be building the signature bridge crossing in the heart of Louisville that will be the cornerstone of pride and immediately recognized as being a part of the impressive Louisville skyline for many, many generations to come.”

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