Bridges Project Review Recommends Cost-Savings Proposal for Two New Bridges
Public Hearings Set for Dec. 19 and 20
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - (November 17, 2011) An updated environmental review recommends a cost-saving approach for building two new bridges and rebuilding the downtown Louisville interchange – setting the stage for construction to begin next year.
The cost-saving approach recommended for study in January by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer would reduce the project cost by an estimated $1.2 billion. The approach, evaluated over the past 9 months, is the preferred alternative in the federally approved Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS).
The cost-savings approach would:
- Rebuild the Kennedy Interchange in the existing location rather than move it south
- Reduce the East End bridge, roadway and tunnel from six lanes to four lanes, with the option to add two lanes later if traffic demand warrants
- Remove the proposed pedestrian and bike path from the design of a new downtown I-65 bridge as a result of a separate project on the Big Four Bridge
- Eliminate flyover ramps and make other design changes on the Indiana interstate approach to the newly expanded I-65 bridges
The environmental review was required because of proposed changes in the project that weren’t considered in the plan selected in the 2003 Record of Decision. These changes include the addition of tolling as deemed necessary during the 2010 Metropolitan Transportation Planning update process to help pay for the Bridges Project, allowing the region to stay on track with delivery of other critical transportation needs in the region and the design changes listed above.
Two public hearings will be held in December to seek citizens’ comments on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) as part of a public comment period that will run through Jan. 9.
The public hearings are scheduled as follows:
- Kentucky Meeting – Monday, Dec. 19, 4 to 8 p.m. Eastern time, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Brown and Williamson Club, 2800 S. Floyd St., Gate 6, Louisville, Ky.
- Indiana Meeting – Tuesday, Dec. 20, 4 to 8 p.m., Eastern time, Holiday Inn Lakeview, 505 Marriott Dr., Clarksville, Ind.
The hearings will feature exhibits and project staff will be available to discuss the project in an informal setting from 4 to 8 p.m. People can also sign up to speak during a formal session from 6 to 8 p.m. Speakers will be randomly selected with time allotted for each speaker determined by the number of people who sign up. A court reporter will also be available to take comments.
The meetings are part of the extensive public involvement process that has been a hallmark of the Bridges Project, which is overseen by the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Federal Highway Administration. The SDEIS will be posted on the project’s website, www.kyinbridges.com and copies will be available at area public library branches.
All comments received through Jan. 9 must be addressed in a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (SFEIS). People can make comments on the project’s website or mail comments to:
John Sacksteder, Bridges Project Manager
Community Transportation Solutions
305 N. Hurstbourne Parkway, Suite 100
Louisville, KY 40222
The SDEIS considered the traffic changes of collecting tolls on the new and improved I-65 bridges downtown and the new East End Bridge to help pay for the project. The actual toll rates that may be charged won’t be set for several more years and tolls will not be collected until new crossings are opened.
The study looked at a range of toll rates and found that traffic changes primarily occur during off-peak times of the day and would not undermine the project’s goals for increased mobility, reduced congestion, improved safety and system linkage.
The Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority is working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation to develop a financing plan for the project. A revised financial plan is expected to be completed before year’s end. The project team anticipates a Record of Decision by the Federal Highway Administration in the first several months of 2012, which will allow the states to move ahead with construction.
Chuck Wolfe, KYTC, 502.564.3419
Will Wingfield, INDOT, 317.233.4675
Chris Poynter, Louisville Metro, 502.574.4546