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July 7, 2014

GAS ON THE FIRE: Bridge closure will add to traffic problems

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Lane closures, changing traffic patterns, detours and delays are nuisances to which commuters have become accustomed as construction related to the Ohio River Bridges Project moves forward. But the closure of the Clark Memorial Bridge on Tuesday will take the annoyances caused by the project to another level.

The bridge will close early Tuesday morning and remain closed for just more than six weeks, a timeline in which ORBP officials are “extremely confident,” said ORBP Downtown Crossing Spokeswoman Mindy Peterson.

“This is going to be a hardship, and we know that, but we at least know that this is a short-term hardship,” Peterson said. “We do have an end-game in place. We do know that a little more than six weeks from the closure, this is a situation that is going to end and people will have that access back. 

“We know that it’s going to be difficult, but we hope that it helps that people have the preparation and they know what’s coming, and the big thing is, we just don’t want anybody surprised.”

According to an ORBP Downtown Crossing press release issued Tuesday, more than 25,000 vehicles cross the Clark Memorial Bridge on a daily basis. Peterson said she believes the bulk of those cars will utilize Interstate 65 during the closure of the Clark Memorial Bridge, which means that the daily number of cars crossing the Kennedy Bridge will increase by up to 20 percent. 

 

GETTING AROUND IN GRIDLOCK

“I would just forewarn people,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, “leave a little bit earlier when they plan on going someplace, because it is going to cause some frustration and some choice words to be spoken, I’m sure.” 

Planning for extended travel times is recommended, Peterson said, but commuters who have the option to flex their work schedules should do so. 

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Students of Ms. Kitzmiller's first grade class sing and dance in the gymnasium at Grant Line Elementary before heading to their classroom to begin the school year Thursday morning in New Albany.

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