DRONE CAM: East End Bridge shaping up to become a reality - WDRB 41 Louisville News

DRONE CAM: East End Bridge shaping up to become a reality

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's easy to see progress on the new downtown bridge, which will open in just a few weeks -- but the new East End bridge isn't as accessible. That's why we sent the WDRB Drone Cam over the project: to show you what's happening with a view you've never seen before.

The picture is mesmerizing: the WDRB Drone cam soaring above the Ohio, capturing the setting sun like it's kissing the new East End Bridge.

"This is going to be a very elegant bridge," said Benny Voyles, a contractor. "From the slope of the piers, to the way the cables tie in, it will be an elegant bridge."

A view from 300 feet up reveals the peaks where the four waterset towers will meet. Just below, steel is being laid in a new way to bring Kentucky and Indiana together.

"On the Indiana side, we're erecting steel and sliding it out," Voyles said. "As we slide out, we build more on the back. Again, slide out, build more on the back."

"Literally just pushing it out?" asked WDRB's Gilbert Corsey.

"Exactly," Voyles replied.

Foreman Benny Voyles just joined this project after finishing his part of the new Downtown Crossing.

"It's an overwhelming feeling, to be honest with you, to know that you're part of the history changing this area," Voyles said.

While his crews press the work on the water, the dig continues deep underground, extending the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky below the Drumanard estate.

"It's been a learning experience," said contractor Kenneth Cirillo. "At first when I came here, the scale of the project was a little overwhelming."

They work in concert -- but to many East End neighbors, construction is far from the sound of music.

"It is way worse than I imagined it would be," said Kimberly Hill, a resident of the Bridgepoint subdivision. "After they do the blast and break up the rock -- that's the worst part. Because it's a constant they're doing this all day long."

"Two or Three [o'clock] in the morning...woke my child up," Hill said.

The people living in communities along US 42 complain of noise and damage to their homes from blasting -- but Waterfront residents face that and much more, because when the sun goes down, this work does not stop.

"I feel like it's a violation," said resident Jeff Cooper. "It's everything the wife can do to keep me in control sometimes. I want to go off. People say, 'Well, move.' I've lived on this street 20 years. I don't want to move."

Bright lights from the construction zone shine back on Jeff Cooper's home -- and pictures show why he's angry: at 8:30 at night, his yard is as the Vegas strip, from construction lights. It's the same at 3:30 in the morning.

Why is it light so late?

"Well at the end of the day, it's about getting it finished and finished on time," said Dan Hartlage, Ohio River Bridges spokesman. "At the end of the day, the quicker the project is completed, the more peace for everyone."

But the route to completion on the new East End bridge is long and winding, with more than 12 months of construction ahead.

"Into next spring and summer, it will really begin to look like a bridge," said Hartlage.

Bridge officials say they are trying to be good neighbors, and make changes to the most disruptive parts of the project to accommodate neighbors when possible. Cooper said, "I've noticed a difference on the Kentucky side. They try and work with me but they won't do anything about the lights from Indiana." 

Bridge officials remain more focused on the big picture.

"The main thing it does is provide a lot of release and relief of traffic going through downtown," Hartlage said.

Forty years of talk will soon be a reality.

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