Blasting for East End Tunnel will begin by end of year - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Blasting for East End Tunnel will begin by end of year

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Blasting and tree clearing for the East End Bridge project continues, and now we're getting a better idea of how the tunnel will be constructed under U.S. 42.

Along U.S. 42 and the Gene Snyder Freeway, construction crews are hard at work. Two to three explosions per day are helping clear the way for the entrance to the tunnel.

Dan Hartlage, an East End Bridge spokesman says, "There will be two channels, one going northbound, one going southbound, and two lanes in each direction."

This is how the tunnel will be constructed: dynamite will be inserted into the rock, then blasted. Crews will remove the debris and will continue the process until they go all the way through in both directions.

Hartlage says, "For each blast, it takes about a day or two to remove all of that to prepare for the other one. So, it's a very tedious process."

Along the Ohio River, the first drilled shaft is now being installed just off the Kentucky shore.  There will be a second one installed later this year closer to the Indiana side. The shaft - about 60 feet into the river's floor - will serve as the foundation to support one of the two towers that will support the cable bridge. Both sides of the bridge will be worked on at the same time, with the project being completed in October of 2016 when the bridge is connected in the middle.

Roadwork will soon be more visible on the Indiana side. Crews say they will begin clearing trees near Utica.

Hartlage also provided these other updates on the project:

Blasting & the tunnel

-  Blasting continues at U.S. 42 and KY 841 … two to three blasts per day.

-  Blasting will begin to occur beneath U.S. 42 near the end of the year.  That blasting will begin the actual creation of the tunnel.

-  Also late this year, blasting for the north portal of the tunnel will begin.  That portal is near River Road – just south of Harrods Creek.  That area is essentially a hillside … and as blasting begins there, it will mark the start of the tunnel from the north side. 

Kentucky preparation for building/rebuilding roads

-  To prepare for a rebuilt KY 841 (from U.S. 42 to about 1,000 feet beyond Wolf Pen Branch Road) some trees will be removed during the next couple weeks along Springdale and Wolf Pen Branch Road (primary area will be between Green Springs Drive and Wolfpen Woods Drive.

-  There also will be some tree removal at the west end of Forest Lake Drive and on the south side of Shadow Wood Drive in the Shadow Wood area; and in a small area south of Transylvania Avenue between River Road and the Ohio River. 

Bridge construction

- The first drilled shaft is now being installed just off the Kentucky shore.  (There will be a second installed later this year closer to the Indiana shore.)  The drilled shaft – about 60 feet into the river's floor – will serve as the foundation to support one of the two towers that will be built in the river (and the towers will support the cable-stayed bridge).  This first tower will be built to its full height in the summer of 2015.  The other tower will be fully constructed in the fall of 2015.

- Each of those towers rise 300 feet above the water.

Indiana road preparation

-  Road work will soon become more visible in Indiana.  To this point, most of the work in Indiana has been in areas where there are no existing roads … essentially excavation work … so there has been very little work that has impacted traffic.  Motorists will begin to see more lane restrictions, lane shifts and related work throughout the SR 62 / SR 265 interchange.  (You'll recall that SR 265 essentially ends at SR 62; the new work will expand SR 265 to the river … and with that will be about four miles of new road.)

- Also, the SR 62 / SR 265 interchange will be completely rebuilt … and while the actual rebuild is more than a year away, preparation for that work will lead to increased lane restrictions, some lane closures, and a lot of shoulder work in the interchange area – some of it beginning this weekend. 

-  There will also be some trees cleared out in an area just north (upstream) from Utica … in the area where the bridge will eventually be constructed.

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