JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Starting next week, people who use the Clark Memorial Bridge will soon have to allow more time to get where they're going.

Starting March 10, the outer lanes and sidewalks will be closed on both sides of the bridge, commonly known as the Second Street Bridge, as work continues on the downtown bridges project.

In addition to next week's lane closures, the entire bridge will be closed for about six weeks -- possibly the end of May until the beginning of July -- to allow construction of a new entrance ramp for U.S. 31, as well as exit ramps for Court Avenue.

The outer lanes and sidewalks will remain closed until the bridge reopens in July.

When the bridge reopens in July, drivers from Louisville headed to Indiana will have to stop at the Indiana end of the bridge and turn right and go through downtown Jeffersonville before heading north to Interstate 65 or U.S. 31.  

Traffic counts show more than 1800 vehicles an hour will have to use Court Avenue and Spring Street at the busiest time per day. The number compares to the 25,000 vehicles which use the bridge daily.

Back to Monday morning, the key is for folks to merge from four lanes to two -- it's only for 1,200 feet, but it can create a bottleneck.

Mindy Peterson, a spokesperson for the Downtown Bridges project, says drivers should be prepared for delays.

"It is going to be a pinch point when you go from four lanes to two, both approaching the bridge on the Indiana side, and then moving from Kentucky to Indiana in the afternoon," Peterson said. "So that's when we would anticipate the backups, when people would want to know that delays are possible."

Sue Bartle of Clarksville, Ind., uses the bridge at least four times a week. She's weary of backups when the parallel I-65 Kennedy bridge backs up. Changes in the next few years will force her to take a detour.

"The only reason I come across this bridge is because the Kennedy is so backed up at five o'clock in the afternoon. It's going to be terrible. I'll probably have to go down to the Sherman Minton to cross that way. It'll be faster," Bartle said.

Once the sidewalks close on the bridge beginning Monday, there will be no safe way for pedestrians to walk across the Ohio River, at least until the approach to the Big Four bridge on the Indiana side opens, and that's not expected to happen until mid-May.

Bicyclists will have access to the traffic lanes as usual; however, the marked "shared" lane will be the one closed on the Indiana approach.

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