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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) - There's a war of words between INDOT and the City of Jeffersonville.
Mayor Mike Moore says he's ready to open Indiana's side of the Big Four Bridge, but says INDOT is dragging its feet, and once again, pushing opening day back by about a month.
"This is very disheartening," said Moore. "You know, they are in charge of this project and they're playing bully here and I’m tired of them."
Moore, announced an opening date for the Indiana side on April 30th, but after INDOT said it wasn't ready, he threatened to open it anyway. "But they said if it was opened any sooner than that, they would pull the lighting contractor off of the job, and the $8 million dollars that the Federal Highway Commission had put into this project would be taken away and put into the laps of the people of Jeffersonville."
The Kentucky side in Louisville was completed more than a year ago, and some people still cannot believe it's taking this long to finish in Indiana.
"Well I didn't notice it until I got to the very end, and then there was this great big gate that looks like you've run into a prison," said Lori Nichols, who walked the bridge for the first time Easter Sunday with her husband.
“I couldn't figure why they could spend this much money to do this entire bridge and walkway, only to have it look like it's completed, but it's not open."
Jim Schum, who walked the bridge with his family, says, “when we got to the other side you can see down the ramp and you can see a good portion of it. It was worth the walk, but it'll be more fun when you can complete the whole thing and go all the way down."
Last week, crews in Jeffersonville started installing lighted handrails and more railing and lighting work still needs to be finished.
"We are not in any hurry at all,” says Linda Williams, who runs the Old Bridge Inn Bed and Breakfast in Jeffersonville. “When they get it done it'll be done, and it'll be done for the rest of our lives." She says all they can do, is wait. “It is what it is. Life, things happen in life, you learn to be patient. It's all good it's going to be wonderful when it's completed and it'll give us all the more reason to celebrate.
But right now, Mayor Moore isn't celebrating. He's still not sure exactly when the ramp will open, and says INDOT has no credibility. "Those are very strong words but I feel very strongly about this. They've let the City of Jeffersonville down, they've let the City of Louisville down and their word is no good with me anymore."
INDOT says, “the safety of the public is a major factor in construction decisions, and because it holds the contract, it is unable to take on the risk and liability of partially opening the ramp, completing construction "under traffic" alongside bicycles and pedestrians.”
INDOT is hopeful the ramp can open before the Second Street Bridge closes at the end of May, but all that will depend on the weather.