Public pressure to open K&I Bridge for public use
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Council just passed a resolution in support of reopening the part of the Kentucky and Indiana Bridge that was once a toll bridge used for cars. It was built in 1912 and connects Portland to New Albany.
Metro Councilman Tom Owen says, "That bridge was built for multipurpose. It should historically be returned to multipurpose use."
Council member Tom Owen says reopening the bridge to pedestrians and bicyclists would create a small loop around southern Indiana that also connects to the Big Four Bridge.
"That completes the smaller golden ring of nine or 10 miles through southern Indiana and then connecting to the 100-mile golden ring which is developing in Metro Louisville," Owen said.
But Norfolk Southern, which owns the bridge, tells WDRB it cannot agree to opening it to pedestrian and bicycle traffic because of safety, liability, and security concerns. It still uses the bridge for trains.
"Lawyers can also work out ways of returning that part of the bridge to the community, indemnifying the railroad company."
Owen says safety features could include solid separating fences that are used around railroad bridges across the country.
Walkers on the popular Big Four Bridge say they support opening the K & I Bridge for recreational use.
Whitney Yeager, a walker, says, "Just being able to walk around and do stuff for free especially now is a great thing."
Walker Amanda Garrett says, "I would love to do that once it's done because it'd be a different view of everything."
A proposal to condemn the bridge is also being discussed.
Proponents are hoping that an agreement can be worked out to get the bridge open for public use.
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