Jeffersonville Mayor expects bridge to be closed for 6 months
JEFFERSONVILLE, In. – Late Saturday afternoon, city officials in Jeffersonville released this press release regarding detour plans from the Sherman Minton bridge closure. Within it, Jeffersonville's Mayor Tom Galligan says after meeting with Indiana and Kentucky officials, he expects the Sherman Minton Bridge to be closed for a minimum of six months:
The closing of the Sherman Minton Bridge due to critical structural defects is expected to have an extreme effect on traffic approaching and across the Kennedy and Clark Memorial bridges between Jeffersonville and Louisville.
Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered the Sherman Minton Bridge – which carries I-64 between New Albany and Louisville's west end – closed on Friday after engineers told him the bridge is unsafe and was subject to failure.
The bridge's closure will add an estimated 80,000 cars a day to the Kennedy and Clark Memorial bridges. About 130,000 cars cross the Kennedy Bridge during an average day.
Officials estimate that during Monday's morning rush hour, southbound traffic I-65 will be backed up for nine miles north of the Ohio River to Sellersburg and that traffic from Floyd and Harrison counties will be backed up for three miles on eastbound I-265 trying to get to southbound I-65.
After meeting with leaders from Indiana and Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, Mayor Tom Galligan met with his city's police, fire and emergency management leaders, as well as representatives of Yellow Ambulance, which provides ambulance service within Jeffersonville.
The biggest change in Jeffersonville on Monday morning will be the reversal of Missouri Avenue to a northbound one-way street. This will allow motorists who use the Clark Memorial Bridge to access it from Utica Pike/Market Street to Missouri Avenue. This gives motorists the chance to avoid traffic on Court Avenue trying to get to southbound I-65.
Traffic signals will function normally on Monday morning, however, police will be monitoring key intersections on Market Street, Court Avenue and Spring Street to ensure that traffic is flowing as smoothly as possible and that intersections remain clear.
Galligan and Police Chief Tim Deeringer also recommend:
-Monitoring television or radio traffic reports in advance of leaving for work or school on Monday, to help determine how much earlier than normal you should begin your trip;
-Utilizing Eastern Boulevard or Port Road/I-265 for access to northbound I-65; and,
-Motorists from Charlestown or further east who need access to downtown Louisville consider re-routing through Madison and crossing the Ohio River into Milton, Ky.
Galligan said employers who can adjust schedules or allow at least some employees to work from home should consider doing so.
Based on today's conversations with officials from Indiana and Kentucky, Galligan said he expects the Sherman Minton Bridge to be closed for a minimum of six months.
"Governor Daniels made the right decision," said Galligan. "After he reviewed the inspection report, he had no choice but to close the Sherman Minton Bridge, because the bridge was going to fail."
Galligan added, "We're simply asking that people work with us and that motorists be respectful of each other. The Kennedy and Clark Memorial bridges are not designed to handle this much traffic, but we've got no other alternatives."
City officials will monitor morning traffic patterns and may make adjustments within the next week or two.
"We've basically been given three days to figure out how the best way to handle a 60 percent increase in traffic on I-65," said Galligan. "We very well may make additional adjustments over time."