LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bridge to nowhere could become a bridge to prosperity in southeastern Jefferson County.
The new Urton Lane Bridge spans the Norfolk and Southern rail line. The tracks have been a barrier to the expansion of the Bluegrass Commercial Park.
But when the bridge is connected on each side, it will link the park to Taylorsville Road and the Gene Snyder Freeway, adding 400 acres of usable space, and paving the way for 10,000 new jobs.
“There's not a lot of available land left in Jefferson County, so to have a corridor like this developed with the potential for 10,000 more jobs is just a great thing, obviously, for the opportunity of our citizens but for our overall economy,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
Developer Greg Oakley said companies are showing interest in this area, but access has been a problem.
“We're still able to attract, but we're to the point we need to show progress, and this is the first step," Oakley told WDRB News.
The $1.5 million bridge was more than 7 years in the making, and paid for by Metro Government. Metro Councilman Stuart Benson (R-Dist. 20) spearheaded the project.
“You’ve got to have industrial, commercial property for jobs,” he said. “And this is going to be great.”
Now the state must come up with $15 million to build the connecting roads. Rep. Jerry Miller said the best option might be a tax increment financing plan that would allow the state to borrow the money against future tax revenue.
Miller said having an already finished bridge and the prospect of new taxes help make the case.
“We need to grow our way out of a variety of problems, in terms of, especially, infrastructure problems and pension debt problems,” said Miller (R-Louisville).
The Urton Lane Bridge may be the ultimate test of the expression, “If you build it, they will come.”
“This is a critical piece here, this bridge,” said Fischer.
It may still be five years or more before this project is finished, and the old farmland begins to grow the economy.
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