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May 20, 2014

FINALLY: Big Four Bridge opens to fanfare in Jeffersonville

After months of delays, Mayor Mike Moore officially opens the long-awaited pedestrian and bicycle bridge

JEFFERSONVILLE — Southern Indiana residents wasted little time in taking advantage of the region’s newest recreational attraction.

As soon as the gates were open to the ramp leading up to the Big Four Bridge in Jeffersonville at about 1:30 p.m. today, walkers dotted the incline eager to take advantage of the long-awaited pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

Louisville’s side opened more than a year ago, leaving Jeffersonville residents and elected officials eager with anticipation and upset over months of construction delays.

That all changed at 2 p.m. today with a ceremonial opening of the Jeffersonville side by Mayor Mike Moore, who was joined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer at the top of Jeffersonville’s ramp.

“We know the significance of this day, and we are finally here,” Moore said.

Moore, who was outspoken against the Indiana Department of Transportation because of earlier delays, put aside his differences today.

“Without INDOT’s participation, this project would not be complete,” he said.

Moore’s Louisville counterpart had high praise.

“Mayor Moore has been a major champion to get this open,” Fischer said.

Other Louisville officials chimed in.

"Probably without question the most anticipated part of the [Waterfront] Park,” said Waterfront Development Corp. President David Karem.

As soon as the ribbon was cut at about 2:15 p.m., pedestrians and bicyclists paraded across the bridge.

Even before the ceremony, Jeffersonville residents waited in anticipation.

“I’ve been waiting for this for years,” Ann Lewis, who lives on Spring Street in Jeffersonville, said before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

She wasn’t alone.

Check newsandtribune.com for updates and Wednesday’s print edition for full coverage.

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David Bennett, Jeffersonville, is pictured at Riverview Village in Clarksville where he is undergoing rehabilitation after losing his leg due to diabetic complications. Bennett is a 1981 New Albany High School graduate, and was on the 1980 basketball team that finished the season with a 27-1 record.

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