Breaking ground on Louisville KY-IN metro area toll bridges
By Peter Samuel
2012-08-29: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and federal highway administrator Victor Mendez are leading figures in a ceremony Thursday to mark the start of work on $2.6 billion of new crossings of the Ohio River in the bi-state Louisville KY metro area. First work is a $3.2m contract for 3,000ft of new local heavy truck road to connect to the new Ohio River bridge at its first exit including a span that will form part of the interchange.
The road will carry heavy trucks accessing the barge port and commercial center nearby, where Amazon is building a major new distribution center.
The work is independent of the major bridge works which will be done by an availability payments contractor. A short list of four groups was selected in April and their proposals are due Late October. Indiana DOT hopes to have a commercial close with one by the end of 2012.
The East End Crossing bridge will provide a completely new route across the Ohio River and around the eastern part of the metro area linking the Gene Snyder Freeway I-265/KY841 in Kentucky with the Lee Hamilton Expressway SR265 in Indiana.
The East End Bridge construction is being managed by Indiana. Kentucky is managing the new Downtown bridging. State agencies will toll the bridges and take the traffic and revenue risk.
The East End Bridge, 8 miles east of downtown Louisville, is cable stayed with a pair of robust towers 1200ft apart, one near each bank of the Ohio River. The towers go 300ft above average water level supporting a deck with 71ft minimum clearance underneath it for shipping. The deck is 132ft wide providing a 15ft central median area and 13ft walkway/bikeway and after allowance for concrete barriers about 50ft of roadway deck each direction.
The initial setup with 2x2 lane roads on either side is to stripe the bridge deck for 2x12ft travel lanes each direction and a 12ft shoulder rightside and 14ft shoulder leftside, the design to allow resrtriping to 3x12ft lanes with 14ft left for use for shoulder if traffic warrants.
The East End Crossing project also involves:
- in KY 3.3 miles of 2x2 lane highway extending the KY841 from I-71 to the bridge, a segment that includes a 2,000ft tunnel under a historic estate and a highway, US42
- in IN a 2x2 lane extension of SR265 from SR62 4.1 miles to the bridge
The Downtown Crossings project involves a second span for I-65 to be a 6 lane northbound bridge located immediately upstream of the existing Kennedy span which will be renovated to provide 6 lanes soundbound. The project also involves a major rebuild of the Kennedy Interchange where I-64, I-65 and I-71 converge in downtown Louisiville, and some new approaches on the Indiana side.
A similar availability payments procurement is under way for the Downtown project.