Downtown Louisville gridlock expected to ease as bridge construc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Downtown Louisville gridlock expected to ease as bridge construction continues

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Traffic downtown is going to get bad before it gets better, but an end is in sight.Here's what drivers need to know about the last section of the Ohio River Bridge construction:

On Wednesday morning, construction crews were working on Pier 6 -- the tower that will eventually hold the road onto the new Ohio River bridge. Also, project managers updated the media on what drivers can expect this spring and summer with bridge construction.

With all the traffic recently, sometimes it seems like joggers have the fastest trek to the river.

"It's definitely a challenge, getting in and out of the city," said jogger David McLeod.

"It's a headache on Main and Market," said Rob Shader, a man who often walks in Waterfront Park. "You drive down Main and Market underneath the overpasses and you just don't know what lanes are going to be open and when."

The big headline: gridlock in downtown Louisville will be easing.

Many streets that have been closed off or reduced to one lane as teams build new overpasses for the revamp at Spaghetti Junction and heading to the new bridge downtown. Those closures have caused stress for morning and afternoon commuters, but they will gradually ease over the next six months.


On the southern Indiana side, the split on I-65 south with be removed this summer, but then all traffic -- both northbound and southbound -- is going to move to I-65 north. Expect long backups.

Overall, construction managers say that this project remains on budget and ahead of schedule.

"We braced drivers and residents last year for the busiest construction season in 50 years," said Andy Barber, KYTC project manager. "This year is no different. In fact, it's going to be a little bit busier this year. We're not stepping off the gas. So we'll have a new downtown bridge by the end of this year, with traffic on it, in Jan. 2016. The first bridge in downtown Louisville in 50 years."

The deadline is Dec. 9, 2016. Walsh Construction has a major incentive to finish early.

"If they beat that date, they get a bonus of $40,000 a day -- and that's capped at $12 million," Barber said.

It's bringing a mixed reaction from some joggers, who have concerns over the company running away with taxpayer bonuses.

"It seems a little bit excessive to me," Shader said.

"More power to them," added McLeod. "It will help everybody getting them out of here."

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