Ohio River Bridges Project

The Ohio River Bridges Project is one of Louisville’s (and really, the country’s) largest and most ambitious public works and transportation project; it was designated by Congress as one of 13 projects of national importance. In addition to the two major bridges, the project involves 100+ highway bridges, a 1,700-ft hard-rock tunnel, and 100+ right-of-way acquisitions.

If you’re a resident of Louisville or have visited our fine city over the last few months, you’ll have undoubtedly noticed the construction for the project…you really can’t miss it 😉

The project, at its most basic level, can be divided into two main pieces: the Downtown Crossing and the East End Crossing: “The Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project is designed to improve safety, alleviate traffic, connect highways and create economic development. This calls for building two bridges and the highways that connect them. Both states are working together – Kentucky responsible for the Downtown Crossing and Indiana responsible for the East End Crossing.

Image via KYinBridges.com

Image via KYinBridges.com

The Downtown Crossing

A cable-stayed bridge with three sets of twin towers was chosen for the Downtown Crossing to allow more open views of the downtown Louisville skyline and cohesion with its urban surroundings. Work on the Downtown Crossing began in summer 2013, with completion scheduled for late 2016.

As of yesterday (October 21, 2014), the downtown portion of the bridges project was halfway complete, with placement of the first portions of structural steel on what will become the new northbound bridge for Interstate 65.

Work includes:

  • Building a new I-65 bridge with six northbound lanes
  • Reconfiguring Spaghetti Junction (I-64, I-65, and I-71)
  • Reconfiguring Indiana roadway and bridge approaches
  • Rehabbing the Kennedy Bridge (I-65) with six southbound lanes

Construction crews set the first steel edge girders in place on the downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project (image via BizJournals)

The East End Crossing

The East End Crossing will feature a new, state-of-the-art, cable-stayed bridge; a tunnel under historic property in Kentucky; and 4 miles of new-terrain highway in Indiana. Completion is scheduled for 2016.

There are continual updates on traffic patterns and detours which you can check out here.

Highlights include:

  • Building a new East End bridge 8 miles upstream from downtown Louisville
  • Extending the Snyder Freeway (SR 841/I-265) in Kentucky to the new bridge, including a 1,700-ft tunnel under the Drumanard Estate in Prospect
  • Constructing a 4-mile, new-terrain highway in Indiana that will extend the Lee Hamilton Highway (SR 62/SR 265) to the new bridge

Also for your reference is a handy map of Louisville and the project:

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