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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Ohio River Bridges Project has received the last federal approvals needed for construction. The federal government signed off on three plans that lay out how the two new bridges will be financed, managed and tolled.
Next, Kentucky and Indiana will ask for proposals from various construction and design companies.
A groundbreaking will take place August 30th in Clark County, where the first construction for an access road to the East End bridge will take place.
The two states anticipate opening the East End bridge in 2017 and the downtown bridge in 2018.
This was the last major requirement before construction can begin.
By the end of the year, contractors will be named to build the $1.2 billion east end bridge and the $1.3 billion dollar downtown bridge.
The major news Wednesday was the approval of the tolling plan, though not specific tolls to be paid electronically by drivers -- without any toll booths.
Tolls are expected to be $1 for frequent users, $2 for cars $5 for commercial vehicles and $10 for semi-trucks.
But even the project manager admits those figures could change and right now are at best -- an educated guess.
"We have that based on the best information at the time. We are very hopeful we have a way to finance that works," said project manager Gary Valentine.
Tolls will be in place through the year 2058 to pay off the debt service on the $2.6 billion dollar project.
Tolls will not be placed on any drivers until the east end bridge is finished sometime in 2017.
Federal officials approved three official documents outlining the construction plan and financing. Read them through the links here: www.kyinbridges.com. Just look for the blue links on the approval news release in the upper right corner.