Downtown bridge construction starts July 1st
LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Drivers and residents should prepare for noise, vibrations, lane closures and detours as construction is set to begin in July on a new downtown bridge.
The bridge will be built just east of the aging John F. Kennedy bridge, which carries six lanes of Interstate 65 between Kentucky and Indiana. The new bridge is part of the $2.5 billion Ohio River Bridges Project that includes construction of an east end bridge and a revamping of Spaghetti Junction.
Work to move homes in Jeffersonville in the path of the new downtown bridge began this week. Pedestrians and bicyclists can expect detours along River Road and construction fencing will be installed in Waterfront Park in two weeks.
More than 20 buildings on both the Kentucky and Indiana side of the Ohio River still need to be demolished, Walsh officials told WDRB News.
"It's maybe 15 in Indiana and maybe a dozen in Kentucky. It's not a lot," said Arik Quam, Senior Project Manager with Walsh Construction.
Kentucky Transportation officials and Walsh Construction members held an open house Wednesday night at the Mellwood Art Center to address concerns and additional questions. Some in attendance asked about how many union contractors or subcontractors would be hired during the project. The answer: close to 300. Others were concerned about any contingency plans in place should the Kennedy Bridge need to be shut down because of a problem.
Beverly Knight lives just feet away from the footprint of the new bridge in Jeffersonville. She spoke up about concerns that the vibrations.
"The noise from the bridge that's insignificant. But the construction for the next three and a half years is going to be miserable for those of us that live down there. It's going to be horrible," Knight said. "I'm not complaining and saying not in my back yard because right now I have three bridges in my front yard."
Walsh construction will use boxes that look like briefcases to measure noise and vibrations from the paving and pounding.
Arik Quam, Senior Project Manager for Walsh Construction the vibrations "will happen over the course of the entire three years, over the entire course of the project."
But Quam added that "If we exceed any of those vibration, they certainly have criteria where if it gets to a certain level - certainly before a damage level - we have to provide a mitigation plan" and stop construction.
Knight is concerned about possible damage incurred during construction. Walsh claims it will provide a contact number for those affected. That hotline number is 1-888-ORB-1993.