UTICA, Ind. (WDRB) – The new Lewis and Clark Bridge is open for business, but the town of Utica is not. That's because the first exit into Indiana has yet to be completed.

Utica sits in the shadow of the new bridge, but it has yet to benefit from it. And that mostly like won’t happen for about another year.

When it comes to the east end crossing project as a whole, the town feels forgotten about.

“The first two miles of it are Utica. And we do exist. We're small, but we're mighty,” said Steve Long, president of the Utica Town Board.

The first ramp off the bridge into Indiana leads to Utica, and drivers are currently bypassing the town without even knowing it. The road to Utica  is closed and not ready for traffic.

“We've got people calling us every day saying, 'When is this road going to be open?'” said Hank Dorman, Utica Town Board member.

“We want our people to have the same access to the bridge, doctors, stores that the people in (Jeffersonville), Prospect and Louisville have,” Long said.

Not only is it frustrating for the 960 people who live there, it's also pushing back major business plans.

“We're a little disappointed in the fact that the road hadn't been completed in conjunction with the bridge opening," Dorman said. "It's put us behind the eight ball in terms of development-wise."

Utica recently annexed 540 acres of land, at least doubling its former size. Town officials say a hotel, shops and restaurants are all in the plans for the future. But groundbreaking on any of it depends on the road to Utica opening.

“We want to get this thing going," Long said. "We really do, because we've got people calling wanting to come to Utica."

Utica Town Board members will meet with Indiana Governor-Elect Eric Holcomb to try and get construction fast-tracked. They currently expect the road to Utica to open next Christmas.

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