The opportunity for input on the Ohio River Bridges has not been lost on Dick Coomes.

During the past few years, those charged with building the downtown and east end bridges have hosted numerous open houses in Jeffersonville and Utica, during which they sought public opinion on various aspects of the $2.46 billion transportation project.

“I haven’t missed any of them,” said Coomes, a Utica Township resident who plans to build a home in Utica next year.

On Thursday, Coomes reviewed bridge designs again during an open house at the Utica Community Center. The Executive Bridge Type Selection Committee — which has the ultimate responsibility for picking the bridge designs for both the downtown and east end river crossings — asked for a final round of public input before unveiling the bridge designs in December or January. A similar open house took place in Jeffersonville on Tuesday and online voting is available through Sunday at www.kyinbridges.com.

“The east end bridge is essential to the economy of the region, not just Clark County,” said Coomes. “I’m looking forward to living in Utica. I’m looking forward to Utica’s future.”

Jeffersonville Township resident Ardis Kimmel said she would like to see distinctive bridges, namely a $240 million single tower cable-stayed structure downtown and a $245 million dual diamond tower in the east end.

“You’d like to have something significant,” Kimmel said. “Have something you can light up and identify.”

Coomes and Kimmel were among 45 people who attended the first half of the four-hour open house in Utica on Thursday.

While previous public votes have had a direct effect on bridge selection, the current round of balloting is not binding on the bridge selection panel, even though committee members asked for the additional citizen input.

Both bridges are expected to be completed in 2020.

The new downtown bridge will be located immediately east of the Kennedy Bridge and will accommodate I-65’s northbound lanes from Kentucky into Indiana. The Kennedy Bridge will be converted into a southbound-only crossing. The downtown portion of the project includes a reconstruction of the area in Louisville known as “Spaghetti Junction,” where interstates 64, 65 and 71 intersect.

The east end bridge will connect Ind. 265 with Ky. 841.

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