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April 10, 2013

Downtown bridge construction to start July 1

Tolling could begin as early as April 2016



On July, 1, when construction is slated to get into full swing, work will focus along the shores of the Ohio River and on Interstate ramps in Indiana. Along with Indiana approach work, a new off ramp to Court Avenue will be built, said Blake Morris, project manager with Walsh Design Build Team for the Indiana approach.

“The existing ramp will stay open until the new ramp is functional, which should be at the end of this year,” he said.

New off- and on-ramps for Stansifer Avenue are also planned for construction in 2013. And despite the work, Morris said the ramps will remain open to traffic.

“There will be, really, no closures of any ramps this year,” he said.

Other obvious signs of construction on the downtown portion of the project in Indiana will be the clearing of buildings in the path of the new northbound lanes of I-65. Among those buildings expected to be lost are the McDonald’s and Waffle House, both off of Court Avenue near Exit 0.

A separate contract with the Indiana Department of Transportation will help relocate five historic homes in the path of the bridge as part of an agreed order between the states’ transportation organizations, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and conservancy group River Fields Inc.

Barber said he does not anticipate any delays in the construction start date in order to meet the terms of the settlement agreement. Quam said he has receive similar assurances that INDOT will have the homes moved before construction begins.


Joel Halterman, project manager with Walsh Design Build Team for the new Interstate 65 bridge, said that some of the earliest work on the new river crossing will be constructing river access points on the Kentucky and the Indiana sides of the Ohio River. He said in the next month, access roads will be built off of Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville. A similar plan will be put into action in Louisville in Waterfront Park.

However, it was noted that both riverfronts will still be accessible, but people will be detoured around the project area and safety zone barriers will be installed to keep the public out of the worksite. Officials also said the construction will not affect events being held in Waterfront Park during the summer, which includes attractions like the Forecastle Festival and Waterfront Wednesday concerts.

“Access to waterfront park will be maintained,” Barber said. “We’re not touching access to the Big Four Bridge either.”

Another summer staple also will see work occurring nearby.

“The first work that will be happening come July 1 would be right around Slugger Field [where the Louisville Bats play],” said Nick Faul, project manager with Walsh Design Build Team for the new Kentucky approach and Spaghetti Junction.

He said crews will be working on constructing overpasses from Main to Liberty streets in Louisville. Access will be available for traffic and pedestrians during the day around the area, but there may be night closures, Faul said.

Work, initially, in Spaghetti Junction will focus on I-65 and the I-71/64 corridor.

The only planned ramp closure planned in Spaghetti Junction for this year will be the I-64 eastbound ramp to southbound I-65, which is expected to close July 1. The ramp is expected to remain closed through the duration of the project.

Planners added that two lanes of interstate traffic will remain open at all times during construction to avoid major backups, but Barber admitted the project will add to the traffic congestion in the downtown corridor.

“It is a construction project, so yes, there will be some times that traffic will be worse,” he said.

Planned closures and detours will be released as they are determined and will also be posted online.

Quam said built into the construction schedule were a number of nonworking days per month. The days will act as a contingency plan if there are delays related to weather or the Ohio River allowing the contractors to maintain their construction schedule.

The east-end bridge has an anticipated completion date of October 2016 and the downtown corridor has an anticipated completion date of December 2016.

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