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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas -- at Amazon.
Amazon's new distribution center in Jeffersonville began stocking shelves for the holiday season early Wednesday. City officials say the first shipments will start Oct. 17.
Amazon has two shifts up and running, with 600 to 800 people working on each of those shifts. That's good for the economy, but bad for the traffic on Highway 62. There will be extra police patrols as drivers become used to the changes.
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore and Jeffersonville Chief of Police Chris Grimm spoke about improvements to handle the new traffic, including the addition of two new traffic lights. One is already working at Charlestown Pike and the main entrance of Amazon. Mayor Moore says they will tweak plans as more business are expected to pop up at River Ridge. He says Amazon's presence has put the area on the map.
"We've got to look at this as a competition," Moore said Wednesday. "I'm competing with Louisville, I'm competing with Clarksville, Sellersburg, every city around here. We've got to make Jeffersonville the most attractive choice, and so far it seems to be working."
Chief of Police Grimm said, "All of the turning lanes, if you're coming up 62, into the Ridge, into the neighborhoods to north of the Ridge, have been expanded."
As it happens, our WDRB crew came across an accident on Highway 62 on their way to the Amazon center. Two drivers were taken to the hospital. Police say the car was traveling westbound, crossed the median, and struck the truck in the eastbound lane. One injured person was taken to Clark Memorial Hospital, the other to University Hospital. There's no word on the extent of their injuries.
The huge facility at the River Ridge Commerce Center cost $150 million and is 28 acres under one roof. The facility has been under construction for months, but it finally has its doors open. Amazon will employ more than 1,000 seasonal and part-time workers, after a push last summer to hire employees.
The company has sparked interest in other companies locating to the River Ridge Commerce Center, but even a bigger boost -- is construction of the East End Bridge Project. It's expected to be finished in five years and connect southern Indiana to east Louisville. The groundbreaking that took place weeks ago has spurred more interest in other companies checking out River Ridge as a desirable location.
There's also been talk of Amazon offering same-day delivery, which could mean adding a shift that would offer delivery of products just hours after orders are placed online.
Mayor Mike Moore and other city officials were expected to address public concerns like increased traffic Amazon is expected to bring to the area.