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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and other civic leaders praised the start of demolition in downtown this week to make way for a new downtown bridge, there are still looming frustrations and concerns for those living near the future east end bridge.
The Shadow Wood neighborhood sits off Wolf Pen Branch Road and will eventually sit within spitting distance of the interstate approach to the new $1.2 billion bridge spanning the Ohio River in eastern Jefferson County.
The state has purchased and demolished 17 of 38 homes in the neighborhood to make way for the approach. Peter McHugh, the neighborhood association president, is among the residents staying behind in the section of neighborhood not threatened by the project.
But he too has concerns.
"We're not against the project, we just want it to be started and finished because everyone has been in limbo for all these years," said McHugh.
Former residents, many of whom spoke to WDRB News, said they're happy to have moved out after their state bought out their homes within the last year or so.
McHugh said prior to demolition, vandals struck 11 of the homes, stealing copper wiring and air conditioning parts to sell for scrap. Now that a security fence has been installed, he's concerned about what will happen before construction starts.
"My fear is that they are going to do anything they want and we have no recourse," he said.
McHugh wants a safety wall built before construction starts next year to help eliminate the noise pollution. He's concerned the urgency of building a bridge will outweigh the quality of life concerns of his neighbors.
"Basically it's a frustration on all our parts to get things rolling," McHugh said. "This east end bridge has been hanging over our heads as a threat or a dream for 30 years."
Currently, construction on Old Salem Road in Indiana is expected to begin in late August.
A contractor will be selected by the end of the year to build the $1.2 billion east end bridge.
Meanwhile, a judge has set an August 3 hearing date for the lawsuit between River Fields, the National Historic Trust and the federal government over concerns with the Druminard estate. The dispute has caused a rift between the state, historic preservations and drawn the ire of critics who say the lawsuit has delayed advancement of the bridge project.