Thursday, August 30, 2012
Contact: Doug Hecox
Federal Highway Administrator Mendez Joins Indiana, Kentucky Governors for Groundbreaking of East End Crossing
Workers Begin First Segment of Ohio River Bridges Project
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear today to break ground on the first segment of the $1.3 billion East End Crossing - half of the Ohio River Bridges project, which is expected to improve traffic safety and substantially reduce congestion between Southern Indiana and Louisville.
The Ohio River Bridges Project, which is one of the nation's largest highway construction projects, is estimated to cost around $2.6 billion. Planning for the project began in 1969.
"This new bridge answers President Obama's call for an America built to last," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "It will put people to work and reduce congestion, which will help move freight and make businesses throughout the Midwest more competitive."
Today, workers began extending Old Salem Road, which will connect to an interchange at Indiana SR 265 more than a half-mile away. This $3.2 million contract sets the stage for construction of the East End Crossing Bridge and the crossing's first exit on the Indiana side of the river.
The East End Crossing Bridge, the Louisville area's first new bridge in more than 50 years, will offer drivers four lanes with full-width shoulders that will offer the flexibility of restriping the bridge to six lanes when future traffic warrants additional capacity. The bridge will also feature a 13-foot-wide shared-use path for bicycles and pedestrians.
Additional improvements for the area include construction of a tunnel connecting to the I-265 Gene Snyder Freeway, a new bridge on I-65 over the Ohio River, and reconstruction of the I-64/I-65/I-71 Kennedy Interchange in downtown Louisville over the next six years. The Ohio River Bridges Project, which includes these projects and the new East End Crossing Bridge are jointly managed by Indiana and Kentucky.
"By improving traffic flow along one of the nation's most important economic corridors, this project creates jobs for workers and lays the foundation for continued economic growth throughout the entire region," said Administrator Mendez.
State officials estimate the new East End Crossing Bridge will serve 52,000 vehicles per day by 2030, and significantly shorten the time and cost needed to ship U.S. products through the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville. The port is within one day's drive to more than two-thirds of the U.S. market and is home to 13 steel-related companies, a UPS international hub and a new Amazon.com distribution center.
# # #