Kennedy Bridge to reopen to one lane of traffic starting Friday - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kennedy Bridge to reopen to one lane of traffic starting Friday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some drivers in Southern Indiana traveling to Louisville on I-65 South will notice a significant change in their commute starting this week as the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge reopens to one lane of traffic.

The change only impacts drivers traveling from Stansifer Avenue, 10th Street and Court Avenue to I-65 South.

The temporary median crossover that has carried traffic from Stansifer Avenue, 10th Street and Court Avenue to I-65 South on the Abraham Lincoln Bridge is closing. Instead, one lane of the Kennedy Bridge is opening to carry the traffic to I-65 South.

"That commute is going to look a lot different, feel a lot different," said Mindy Peterson, the spokeswoman for the Ohio River Bridges. "What they really need to do is watch the signage, pay close attention to that. Slow down, especially for the first few days of the change."

Closing the temporary median crossover will allow crews with Walsh Construction to install final barrier wall, separating new, permanent lanes of I-65 South and I-65 North. 

The changes are expected to be in place by 5 a.m. on Friday, September 30. The changes will be clearly marked.

Jefferson Street Exit
Drivers who want to exit at Jefferson Street in Downtown Louisville must exit at Stansifer Avenue (Exit 1) in Southern Indiana. The traffic will cross the river on the Kennedy Bridge and be able to exit at Jefferson Street. Southbound traffic crossing the river on the Lincoln Bridge will not be able to access the Jefferson Street exit.

Court Avenue Ramp is Reopening
Traffic is moving into this new, temporary configuration as the ramp from Court Avenue to I-65 South reopens to traffic. It closed last week for final paving and other work.

The ramp is expected to reopen by 5 a.m. on Friday, September 30 when the new traffic pattern is in place.

Kennedy Improvements
Crews are making major improvements to the Kennedy Bridge, installing a new floor system with new stringers, bearings and diaphragms the length of the bridge.

The bridge fully closed to traffic in January 2016 to allow the extensive improvements to be made. It’s expected to reopen to I-65 South traffic in October. It will initially carry three lanes of southbound traffic. Direct access to I-64 East, I-64 West and I-71 North will be restored when the Kennedy reopens to southbound traffic next month.

At project completion, the Kennedy Bridge will carry six lanes of southbound traffic and the Lincoln Bridge will carry six lanes of northbound traffic. Work on the Downtown Crossing is expected to be complete in December.

Once all work is done in December, that is when tolling is expected to begin. According to Peterson, more than 8,000 personal and business RiverLink accounts have been opened since July. All the sensors and more than two dozen cameras are up on the Kennedy bridge. There are two cameras on the Lincoln bridge right now. Crews continue to work on wiring, installing, and testing more cameras on the Lincoln bridge.

Some drivers have already changed their routines to avoid the tolls, including Faye Hinton. She is the manager at Purrfect Treasures in Jeffersonville, Ind., a thrift store that benefits the Animal Protection Association.

"I make fewer trips to Louisville shopping," said Hinton. "I even changed one doctor because it costs four dollars to go there and back in the future." She added all the construction is frustrating, but will be a big benefit when all the bridges are open.

Another driver who lives in Jeffersonville agreed she is ready for all the construction to be finished. "I will be so thankful when they get everything flowing well," said Vicky Allen. "It's just very nerve wracking, it's nerve wracking to drive."

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