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June 20, 2014

East-end crossing on schedule, on budget

Bridge project still on target for completion by end of 2016

JEFFERSONVILLE — If the next year of work on the east-end crossing goes as well as its first year did, the Indiana Department of Transportation and WVB East End Partners officials likely will be very pleased.

Construction on the eastern component of the Ohio River Bridges Project — which will span the Ohio River near Utica and complete the Interstate 265 loop — has reached the one-year mark, and everything is going according to plan, said WVB project manager Rob Morphonios at a press conference held Friday at the Spring Street Freight House, Jeffersonville.

“We’ve made very good progress,” Morphonios said. “We’re on schedule. We have had no major surprises or unexpected challenges.”

With the work that’s been done, it’s difficult for motorists to see how the pieces fit together. But signs that is about to change, Morphonios said.

“We’re in good shape with our timelines,” Morphonios said. “We’re well-positioned to make good progress this next year, and in the next 12 months work will become increasingly visible to the residents and commuters of the area.”

Take what’s happening with the bridge itself, where the progress that’s been made is obscured by the waters of the Ohio River. The drilled shafts that form the base of the towers in the river are nearing completion, and the foundation caps on top of the towers will be done by the end of this summer. The 300-foot towers for the 2,510-foot, cable-stay bridge will be completed by the end of summer 2015.

In Indiana, work on the reconstruction of the Ind. 265 interchange with Ind. 62 and Port Road is well underway, and will continue through 2015. Paving work on the interchange will begin this fall, which will prompt some changes to traffic patterns. Utility relocation for the project will be completed this summer.

The east-end crossing project also calls for the extension of Ind. 265 by four miles, and that work will be a focus of the next 18 months. Rock blasting for the new Ind. 265 lanes will continue, Morphonios said. Blasting schedules are posted at

In Kentucky, underground tunnel blasting is underway to excavate a 1,700-foot tunnel, and is more than 60 percent complete, Morphonios said. He said he expects the tunnel to be excavated by the end of the year, though it will take more work to get the tunnel ready for commuters.

The east-end crossing project is owned by the Indiana Finance Authority and INDOT, while WVB East End Partners is the developer on the project. WVB East End Partners is a consortium consisting of Walsh Construction, VINCI Concessions and Bilfinger Project Investments.

The downtown portion of the project — which will build a new Interstate 65 bridge and redo Spaghetti Junction — is expected to cost $971 million and be completed in October 2016.

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.


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