Study says cost-cutting measures could reduce Ohio River Bridges price tag by $1.2 billion
LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB Fox 41) –
Local leaders are making a big push for a scaled-down Ohio River Bridges Project.
Cost-saving changes first proposed in January were supposed to trim the price tag by $500 million. A new study claims they will actually save more than double that.
A five-month long analysis by the Ohio River Bridges Project Team, released Thursday, says that construction costs can be reduced by $1.2 billion; bringing the total cost down from $4.1 billion to $2.9 billion.
"Today's news underscores the shared commitment among all of us to get the job done in the most cost-effective way possible," said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
"We've been talking about these bridges for far too long," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "Most everyone in the community agrees with that, so it's time for some action here."
The savings would come from reducing the East End Bridge from six to four lanes, making design changes on the Indiana side, and rebuilding Spaghetti Junction where it is instead of moving it south as originally planned.
That last change means that less private property will be taken in Butchertown. That development has gotten a split reaction there. Vernon Lanes says it could use the extra traffic.
On the other hand, Sergio Ribenboim, of Sergio's World of Beers, has no problem avoiding the bridge.
"I thought that was fantastic because one of the reasons we moved down to this area is we as a family and business owners noticed the revitalization of the immediate neighborhood," said Ribenboim.
Even if these changes are adopted, the bridges project will bring plenty of changes to Louisville, just not as many for Butchertown.
"I think it would have had a negative effect and a big detriment to the neighborhood had they decided to make this an area where cars would just be driving through and cutting the beauty of the neighborhood down," said Ribenboim.
Getting rid of tolls is not one of the recommended changes. Several public forums will be held to discuss the cost-saving alternatives. Beshear and Fischer are still hoping construction will start next August.