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March 25, 2014

Back to work on Big Four Station in Jeffersonville

Construction on landmark park starts up again

JEFFERSONVILLE — Construction on Big Four Station in Jeffersonville has finally resumed after an unusually harsh winter.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said the project was put on hold to make room for work on the Big Four pedestrian and bicycling bridge ramp.

“All of that was fenced in until just before winter,” he said of the park that will rest at the mouth of the bridge. “We couldn’t access it, we couldn’t do anything to it.”

Big Four Station park will be a landing for cyclists and pedestrians who have just come off Big Four Bridge, and construction workers are laying the groundwork for bigger things.

“They’re trying to get everything prepped,” Moore said, adding that water elements and a playground are a few of the elements in the park’s future.

Todd Waldrip, Wycliffe Construction project manager for the park, said that all of the underground infrastructure, including sanitary sewer systems, and gas and storm water sewers, was mostly completed last week.

“We are presently working on the installation of the sidewalks for the park and the rough dirt grading,” Waldrip said.

This dirt grading, which involves smoothing down bumps and hills in the ground, is in preparation for landscaping work that should begin in the middle of April.

Waldrip also said that his crew recently completed renovations on the intersection of Pearl and Chestnut streets in line with recent roadwork on Chestnut. The generalized roadwork is meant to make the corridor more appealing for those coming from the park and pedestrian bridge.

“That should be ready to open back up in a couple of weeks,” he said.

Work on Big Four Station will be done in two phrases. Phase 1 involves construction from Maple Street to the Big Four Bridge and Phase 2 is work from the south side of the bridge going toward Market Street.

Although Waldrip declined to comment on completion dates, he said Phase 1 should be completed “sooner rather than later.”

“We’ve just been through one of the worst winters in 50 or 60 years, and our crew pushed on through the weather,” he said.

Even though Big Four Station won’t be completed before Big Four Bridge opens at the end of April, he said park construction won’t be interrupted by pedestrians and cyclists coming from the bridge.

“We’re getting close, and everything is moving fairly quickly right now, and we’re certainly making ever effort to get the park open as quickly as we can,” Waldrip said.

Features of the park that will be completed after landscaping is finished include public restrooms, water features, a pavilion and a playground. A roof for the restroom was put in place Friday.

Sod will be laid down around the end of April or beginning of May, and the park should be up and running by September, Moore said.

“It’s extremely exciting,” he said.

The contract with Wycliffe Construction for the park is around $4.5 million.

Work on Big Four Station comes in the wake of a recently announced goal for the opening of Big Four Bridge, a pedestrian bridge connecting Jeffersonville to Louisville.

The bridge is expected to April 30, the Wednesday before Derby Day, Moore announced at last week’s redevelopment commission meeting. This date is a year later than the originally projected opening, which got pushed back several times because of various logistical reasons.

The most recent issue that has held back the bridge’s opening to the Indiana side was the installation of lights on the ramp that comply with historic district standards.

Jeffersonville City Engineer Andy Crouch said temporary lights will be installed while they wait for the permanent lights to be shipped so that the bridge can be used on Derby. The temporary lights will cost the city $20,000.

The park stretches the length of almost two blocks from Market to Maple streets.

“We’re looking toward the finish line here, and it’s getting close,” Waldrip said.

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Barbara Brewster has been the organ player at Faith Lutheran Church in Jeffersonville for the past 50 years. Brewster began playing organ with the church in August of 1964 at the age of 17.

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