SHERMAN MINTON BRIDGE CLOSURE 10VO.transfer_frame_2267.jpg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kokosing Construction Co. was selected Thursday to lead the renovation of the Sherman Minton Bridge between Louisville and New Albany, Ind., and repair roads on both sides of the Ohio River.

But the company's bid represents a roughly 52 percent increase in the project's cost, according to figures presented to the Indiana Finance Authority. 

Project officials previously set the price tag of the work at around $90 million, but the award the authority approved is for $137 million. Kentucky and Indiana are sharing the costs.

A project spokeswoman said she hoped to have answers about the cost increase on Friday.

Kokosing, of Westerville, Ohio, would team with Dallas-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., which helped design the Abraham Lincoln and Lewis and Clark bridges during the Ohio River Bridges Project that finished in 2016.

The selection must still be formally approved after public hearings set for January 5. That's expected in late February or early March. 

Among Kokosing's projects is the ongoing repair work to northern Kentucky's Brent Spence Bridge, which is scheduled to reopen next week. It was closed in November after a truck crash caused a fire that damaged the span.

Kokosing had the highest score in a procurement that combined technical and price elements, said Kevin Jasinski, the transportation department's major project delivery director. One of the criteria was "price reasonableness," he said. 

Jasinksi said Kokosing's plan had a "strong project management approach and team," and a well-organized schedule. The contracting goal for “disadvantaged business enterprises,” or DBEs -- such as companies that are women- and minority-owned -- is 6 percent.

Each state will pay for all costs associated with its approach roads, with Kentucky and Indiana splitting the bridge costs evenly, Jasinksi said. The "ballpark" figure, he added, is that Kentucky will cover about 60 percent of the project. 

The Sherman Minton work is meant to add three decades to the Interstate 64 span built in 1962. Work is expected to start in late spring or early summer and be finished by the fall of 2023.

Two lanes in each direction would remain open, with additional lane closures at night, said Ron Heustis, INDOT's major projects manager.

Estimates call for the bridge to close for nine straight days and up to three weekends per year under a traffic plan the transportation department released earlier this year. That approach would mean a full closure during 54 days of an anticipated 843 total days of work, or just over 6% of the time.

Crews would replace the Sherman Minton’s roadways, repair drains and add lights and paint.

In Kentucky, the roadways would be replaced on highway stretches leading up to the bridge. Other projects on that side of the river include painting and paving. 

In Indiana, a stretch of I-64  northwest of the crossing would be resurfaced, as would portions of Spring, Elm and 5th streets in New Albany. 

Also, I-64 over Market Street would be painted.

This story has been updated to correct the scope of the project.

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