SLIDESHOW: Thousands attend ribbon cutting for Abraham Lincoln B - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SLIDESHOW: Thousands attend ribbon cutting for Abraham Lincoln Bridge

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Among those who walked the new Abraham Lincoln Bridge on Saturday -- Abe Lincoln look-a-likes (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News) Among those who walked the new Abraham Lincoln Bridge on Saturday -- Abe Lincoln look-a-likes (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News)
Thousands of people walked the Abraham Lincoln Bridge on Saturday (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News) Thousands of people walked the Abraham Lincoln Bridge on Saturday (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Tens of thousands of people attended the ribbon cutting for the Abraham Lincoln Bridge on Saturday morning. Police estimate the crowds to be between 40,000 and 50,000 people.

Several officials were also on hand as the ribbon was cut.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Kentucky Governor-Elect Matt Bevin, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer were among the officials present for the ceremony.

"As the fog this morning is lifting, it's lifting on a day that many doubted would ever come, but today we open a new magnificent bridge" said Gov. Beshear.

Gov. Beshear said the bridge marks the first new crossing in the area of the Falls of the Ohio in 52 years.

"It took hundreds of hardworking men and women to turn endless talk into something you can walk and drive across," Gov. Beshear said.

"Oh wow, I mean this makes history doesn't it. My gosh we've been waiting for the new bridges for so long," Sharon Decker told WDRB News.  

Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was not present at the ribbon cutting, but said in a statement read by Gov. Beshear, "Different states, different parties, but neither ever meant a thing. Indiana and Kentucky went to work tackling their infrastructure problems, while the nation and most states just dithered and wrung their hands. We're already seeing the jobs effects of wise public investment and now the quality of life benefits will start to flow also."

Victor Mendez, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation, was also present for the ceremony. "I know we have all been anticipating the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Bridge and we're here today to celebrate that," Mendez said.

Mendez noted that bridge construction was one month ahead of schedule. The federal government invested about $1 billion dollars to construct the bridge, according to Mendez.

Governor Pence said, "This is an inspiring day for both of our states."

"I'm inspired by this marvel of engineering and the craftsmanship of the bridge builders--iron workers, carpenters, engineers who've made this lasting contribution to the life of our states and our nation," Governor Pence also said. 

One man lined up at 9:30 Friday night to be the first to walk the bridge Saturday morning, but not everyone was as patient as him. Some hecklers interrupted speakers a few times shouting "lets go" during the ribbon cutting ceremony. All in all, the more than 10,000 people who showed up for the once in a lifetime experience say they can't wait to start driving on it. 

The Lincoln Bridge is scheduled to open Monday at 5 a.m. for northbound traffic. Later in the month, it will carry southbound traffic when the Kennedy Bridge closes for construction. 

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