Ohio River bridge tolls could begin by 2017 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ohio River bridge tolls could begin by 2017

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Big decisions are approved to move the Ohio River Bridges Project forward, including new details on tolling.

In about a month we will know unofficially who'll be building the Kentucky portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. In Frankfort and Indianapolis, transportation officials approve an agreement that will oversee the construction, financing, and long term management of the Ohio River Bridges project.

During the meeting in Frankfort, we learned more about tolling to pay for the multi-billion dollar project.

there will be no toll booths it'll all be electronic collection," explained Mike Hancock, Secretary for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The new East End Bridge will be finished first in 2017--it and the Kennedy will begin tolls, then the Downtown Crossing when it is finished in 2018.

Still no dollar amount named for the tolls--but a newly approved Joint Board will make those decisions. "The tolling body will have the responsibility for analyzing all of the needs for the project in terms of the dollars and setting an appropriate level of tolls," said Hancock. Tolls will be split between the two states, 50/50.

And by November 15th, we will have a clear idea of who will be building the Downtown Crossing--Kentucky's portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. In Kentucky, it has been narrowed down to three construction firms.

For the East End portion in Indiana, it is down to four. Three of those four are the same firms on the list in Kentucky. If the same firm is chosen, Hancock says it will not affect the schedule. "Whatever firms are selected to do the work will have to meet the deadlines and timelines that are identified," said Hancock.

Construction will start in a few weeks on a road that will ultimately connect the East End Bridge to the River Ridge Complex. Construction for the Downtown Crossing part of the project will begin in the winter or spring of 2013.

Mike Hancock of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says, "This agreement today was the framework around which all of the decisions from this point forward will be based.  And we feel very good that we have the solution for both states."

The East End Bridge is Indiana's responsibility in the $2.6 billion project. The Downtown Crossing is Kentucky's responsibility.  That includes building a new I-65 bridge and rebuilding Spaghetti Junction.

Previous stories:

Construction to begin soon on Ohio River Bridges Project

New York Times writer questions need for Ohio River Bridges Project

Study: Ohio River bridges to bring thousands of jobs

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