NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Southern Indiana leaders met with the state Thursday in the latest effort to keep the Sherman Minton Bridge open during construction.
Local leaders have been pushing to stop a full-bridge closure for months, with several organizations sending letters to the state. The state's transportation commissioner met face to face with stakeholders Thursday. More than a dozen elected officials and business leaders attended the meeting.
"We wanted to put a human face on the people writing these letters," said Al Knable, New Albany City Councilman At-Large. "Cumulatively, that group probably represents about 50,000 to 60,000 people. We can't that (many people) in a conference room but we were able to get their voices, I think, heard through us."
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is coming up with a plan to accomplish a major rehab of the Sherman Minton Bridge. The more than $90 million renewal project should start sometime in 2021. Officials are still weighing six different construction options, each with various impacts.
Partial bridge closures would keep traffic flowing but would also extend the project and increase costs. A full closure would reduce the timeline and costs but would force about 90,000 vehicles to use another route each day.
"What's going to be the cheapest for the state of Indiana and the federal government may be devastating to the local economy here," Knable said.
In a statement sent to WDRB News, INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness said,"I want to thank the New Albany community for inviting me to join them for a discussion about the upcoming Sherman Minton Renewal. As we continue the project development process, it is incredibly helpful for our team to hear feedback from businesses and residents about priorities for preserving mobility and supporting economic vitality in the region during construction. We are committed to listening, answering questions, and bringing forward options that will keep people and commerce moving while we extend the life of this important transportation corridor.”
"The commissioner was very receptive, very empathetic, very focused," said Knable, who advised we could be waiting a while for officials to decide what construction plan to use.
"The word that we got is that a final decision is still months and months away," he said.
For more information on the Sherman Minton Renewal Project, click here.
- New Albany councilman says full closure of Sherman Minton Bridge would be bad news for local businesses
- Hoosiers pack meeting weighing options for Sherman Minton Renewal Project
Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.