SLIDESHOW: Baer Fabrics building demolished to make way for downtown bridge
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An iconic Louisville building fell to the wrecking ball Tuesday afternoon. The Baer Fabrics building will soon be a pile of rubble.
The building is in the way of the new downtown bridge, so now that historic building is fast becoming history. It's just the beginning of the changes Louisville residents will see downtown as bridge construction begins.
It's a classic case of the old making way for the new. The building dates back to the early 1900s. It was home to Baer Fabrics for nearly 40 years until the business closed in 2008.
Juan Robinson calls the demolition, "bittersweet." He is overseeing the demolition for the Bridges Authority, but he has his own memories of coming here as a kid with his mom.
"It was a lot of memories. I met a lot of people. There used to be a sewing lady in there. She taught sewing classes on Saturdays, and that was pretty interesting," said Robinson.
The demolition of Baer Fabrics is the most visible sign that the Downtown Bridge Project is moving forward.
"Most of the building has been, and is being salvaged and, actually, the materials will be re-used," said Chuck Wolfe, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Actual construction is scheduled to begin in July. The project includes the improvements to Spaghetti Junction -- and that will mean lane closures and traffic delays until the project is finished in late 2016.
"It is important, I think, to note that Walsh Construction, the leader of the design-build team, is required and has committed to keeping at least two lanes of traffic on the interstate in each direction open at all times," said Wolfe.
Ultimately, the project should mean fewer traffic headaches for commuters. But the long-term gain will come with some short-term pain.
"For the advancement, we have to do what we have to do," said Robinson.
The Bridges Authority is planning a public meeting sometime next month to answer questions about the downtown project.
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