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April 18, 2013

Open house focuses on how bridges will look

UTICA —

While other viewings have focused on numbers and specifics, residents got to see how the east-end bridge and its approaches will actually look on Wednesday.

The Indiana Department of Transportation and WVB East End Partners hosted an open-house session to show the aesthetic side of the Ohio River Bridges Project at Utica Community Center. 

But some residents said they were just happy the bridge was actually coming together at all.

Jeff Leach, a 68-year-old Jeffersonville resident, said after 20 years of hearing about bridges, he’s glad to see groundbreaking on the way.

“After about 20 years [of promises], you get a little lackadaisical,” Leach said. 

Greg Creamer, design quality assurance manager for Ohio River Bridges East End Crossing, said a lot of people were interested in how the bridge will actually look and are happy to see the project coming along.

“I heard a lady say she didn’t think it would happen in her lifetime, so I’ll take that as a positive,” Creamer said. “There’s been a lot of skepticism I guess, but we’re on time now.”

Ron Heustis, INDOT project manager for the Ohio River Bridges Project, said the last sessions focused more on specific questions about how the bridge would be built, but showing people an idea of what the end product would look like was important for Wednesday’s session.

He also said while the designs shown were more solid than the original concepts, they’re still flexible. He said primarily, they wanted to get input from the community to weigh in with the final project designs.

Leach said he’s heard a lot about tolls and opposition, but it didn’t sound as bad as he’d anticipated. He said in Florida, commuters have to pay about $5 to cross a bridge.

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The Jeffersonville High School student body enjoys a performance by JHS alumni, The Juice Box Heroes, in celebration of PRIDE, which stands for Persistence, Respectfulness, Initiative, Dependability and Efficiency, on the JHS football field Friday afternoon. The celebration was able to combine the kick-off the behavioral expectations for students and the start of the new school year.

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