No new interstate or ramp closures are scheduled
May 22, 2015 – Drivers hitting the road for the long Memorial Day weekend won’t have to worry about closures associated with the Downtown Crossing portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. To make the busy holiday weekend a little easier for drivers, no new interstate or ramp closures will be in place this weekend. No overnight closures are scheduled Saturday, Sunday or Monday.
“We know that many people will be traveling as part of their Memorial Day celebrations,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Project Manager Andy Barber. “We want to do our part to help people get their summer off to a good start by letting drivers know that closures associated with the Downtown Crossing won’t be an issue during one of the busiest travel holidays of the year.”
Long-term restrictions and closures will remain in place, with signed detours to help drivers reach their destinations. Drivers are reminded to slow down in construction zones. While activity will be very limited over the holiday weekend, it’s important to remember that new ramps have opened and there have been some recent traffic shifts. Drivers should follow the posted speed limit and pay close attention to new traffic patterns.
Continuing restrictions and closures on surface streets in downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville remain in place. Interstate and ramp closures will resume overnight Tuesday, May 26.
Drivers will access I-64 East much sooner
May 14, 2015 – Another new ramp is opening to traffic as crews with Walsh Construction continue to make progress on the Downtown Crossing portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. The new ramp carries traffic from I-65 South to I-64 East in the Kennedy Interchange.
I-64 East will now split from I-71 North much sooner (see attached image), nearly a mile before the old ramp. The change means that drivers traveling from I-65 South to I-64 East will need to be prepared to access the on-ramp at an earlier point.
Signage will be in place, clearly marking the new ramp. Drivers are reminded to slow down in construction zones, especially as new ramps and roadways open to traffic.
The work to open the new ramp will be happening tonight during the overnight hours, with the ramp scheduled to open to traffic by 5 a.m. on Friday.
The existing ramp from I-65 South to I-64 East will be closed to traffic overnight as the traffic shift is made. The closure is scheduled 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., with a signed detour in place. The old ramp will soon be demolished to make room for new construction.
More than 40 new ramps and overpasses are being built on the Kentucky side of the river as the Kennedy Interchange is rebuilt, untangling many of the weaves of “Spaghetti Junction.”
First concrete is poured for deck of new bridge
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (May 12, 2015) – The first concrete has been poured for the deck of the new Downtown bridge, the centerpiece of the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Crossing. The pour was made on the Indiana approach, which will provide a critical link from the new cable-stayed bridge to the expanded interstate.
The Indiana approach is made up of five spans, with two of the piers in the river and three piers on land. The three spans over land cross Riverside Drive, the floodwall and Market Street.
The total length of the approach bridge is more than 1,050 feet. The approach extends from the Indiana side of the river to the north abutment, located just north of West Market Street in Jeffersonville, Ind. The abutment is a structure that supports the end of the bridge.
Crews with Walsh Construction have been working from each end of the approach as they construct this portion of the new bridge. Crews have been forming the bridge deck, installing rebar to reinforce it and preparing the bridge deck paving machine, called a Bidwell.
The first deck pour occurred late last week. About 4,000 cubic yards of concrete will be used on the Indiana approach to the new bridge. There are expected to be nine separate deck pours, each taking around 10 hours to complete. The pours will occur during the overnight and early morning hours to avoid the daytime heat. The last pour is expected in June.
The Indiana approach will connect to the bridge deck being constructed at Tower 5, the tower closest to the Indiana shore. The connection is expected to be made this summer. The process of building the deck of the cable-stayed bridge will continue throughout the summer and fall, with precast concrete deck panels being placed on top of structural steel. The concrete overlay, the driving surface of the new bridge, is expected to be poured late this fall.
Work in Indiana
Nearly 20 bridges and nearly 40 retaining walls are being built in Southern Indiana as part of the Downtown Crossing. Work is focused on I-65 and US 31 near the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge.
A more than one-mile stretch of I-65 is being widened to accommodate the new cable-stayed bridge. The new Downtown bridge will eventually carry six lanes of northbound traffic and the redecked Kennedy Bridge will carry six lanes of southbound traffic.
Lane restrictions started on I-65 in September 2014, with the interstate reduced from three lanes of traffic to two in both directions from the Kennedy Bridge to Brown’s Station Way. Both directions of I-65 traffic have been utilizing the existing lanes of I-65 South.
Crews demolished the old lanes of I-65 North last year and have been rebuilding a new, wider roadway. Two deck pours remain on the new stretch of interstate. Traffic is expected to shift to the new lanes of I-65 North by the end of July. The move will allow crews to demolish the existing lanes of I-65 South and rebuild that portion of roadway.
The current split configuration of I-65 South will end when traffic shifts later this summer, but lane restrictions will remain in place along this stretch of I-65 until late 2016, when the project nears completion.
One lane of I-64 East is closed at the merge with I-65 North
May 8, 2015 – Drivers in Downtown Louisville need to prepare for a short-term lane closure on I-64 East. One lane of I-64 East has closed at the merge with I-65 North to improve traffic flow.
Traffic is in a temporary configuration after the new ramp from I-65 North to I-64 East/I-71 North opened early this morning. An additional traffic shift will happen during a planned closure overnight on Saturday, allowing more room for traffic from I-65 North to merge into I-64 East traffic.
The traffic shift is expected to be completed early Sunday morning, around 7 a.m. The right lane of I-64 at the merge with I-65 North will reopen when the traffic shift is complete.
Drivers are reminded to slow down in construction zones, especially as new ramps and roadways open to traffic. The posted speed limit for the new ramp is 35 mph.
Kentucky, Indiana propose actions to mitigate effects of tolling on low-income and minority populations
Toll exemptions for TARC, free local transponders, low minimum account balances
May 7, 2015 – Kentucky and Indiana are proposing practical, concrete actions for lessening the effects of tolling on low-income and minority populations affected by the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project.
The proposals include toll-free crossings for the mass transit buses of TARC (Transit Authority of River City). Local transponders will be widely available at no cost, allowing access to the lowest toll rates, and drivers will have maximum ease in managing and replenishing toll payment accounts.
The two states conducted a formal assessment that included surveys and extensive public outreach. A draft report was released in June 2013 for public examination and comment, followed by additional public outreach and an in-depth analysis of prospective toll mitigation measures. Transportation and finance officials from both states on the project’s Tolling Body voted this morning to accept the assessment and implement the measures included in the Toll Mitigation Plan.
“In keeping with our commitment to conduct a robust assessment, the study submitted to and reviewed by FHWA represents much painstaking work, including much public input,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said.
Kentucky and Indiana jointly are building the project to dramatically improve cross-river mobility between Louisville and Southern Indiana. The project has two parts:
- Downtown Crossing – Includes construction of a new bridge for northbound Interstate 65, renovation and reconfiguration of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge to carry southbound I-65 and rebuilding of downtown interchanges in Louisville and Jeffersonville, Indiana. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is in charge. The new bridge is scheduled to open to traffic in January 2016. The reconstructed Kennedy Bridge – final piece of the overall project – is scheduled to open in December 2016.
- East End Crossing – Comprises a new bridge and approaches, eight miles upriver, to connect Indiana 265 in Southern Indiana with the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky. Indiana is responsible for securing design, financing and construction. The new crossing is scheduled to open to traffic in October 2016.
Once the project is completed in 2016, tolls will be charged for use of the two new bridges and the renovated I-65 Kennedy Memorial Bridge. An all-electronic toll system will be used for greater efficiency and cost containment, enabling initial base toll rates as low as $1 per crossing on each bridge.
“The project team put significant thought and effort into producing a quality document that demonstrates the states’ commitment to this issue,” said Indiana Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Jim Stark. “The result is a plan by which the effects of tolling can be mitigated in practical, meaningful ways to those who will be disproportionately affected.”
Measures recommended for implementation fall into three categories:
Transit – Provide toll-free crossings to TARC to provide barrier-free, low-cost access to Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Louisville Metro.
Transponders – Provide free and accessible local transponders – sticker-like devices that attach to the inside of a windshield and bear a bar code that is read by an overhead scanner. The toll is automatically paid from the customer’s account. Transponders will be made readily available through local retailers, such as grocery stores and markets, and local governmental services offices.
Management of user accounts – Allow accounts to be established with as little as a $20 balance to allow customer entry into the program. Establish a wide range of options for replenishment of funds in a user’s account, including cash, credit/debit cards, money orders, bank transfers or online payments. A website is planned to manage accounts online.
KYTC and INDOT already have undertaken or committed to other mitigation measures, including:
- $20 million for TARC for additional buses and vans and associated facilities, such as bus stops and park-and-ride sites.
- Post-construction traffic monitoring to determine whether local communities are adversely affected by traffic bypassing the toll bridges.
The full report – “Assessment of Economic Effects of Tolling and Potential Strategies for Mitigating Effects of Tolling on Low-Income and Minority Populations” – can be accessed from the Bridges Project website, http://kyinbridges.com/library/documents.