Louisville, Ky.— A historic decision was recently reached on the nation's fifth-largest transportation project. The Ohio River Bridges Project's Executive Bridge Type Selection Committee decided on the final bridge types for the new downtown and East End spans. The downtown bridge will be a three-tower, cable-stayed structure, and the East End bridge (connecting eastern Jefferson County, Ky., with Utica, Ind.) will be a median-tower, cable-stayed design with center cables.
The committee's final decision marked the culminating event in an 18-month public involvement campaign. According to the committee, the East End bridge type is projected to cost at least $15 million less than other options and will require fewer maintenance expenses. The selected type will also be in keeping with the pristine nature of its environment, while the downtown bridge type fits in well with surrounding structures.
The downtown bridge design features three low-height towers and cables arranged in a simple harp formation. The East End design includes two needle towers rising through the center of the deck, with cables attached to the center of the bridge.
"These two bridge designs best fit the distinct character of two very different areas of our region," said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.
Bridge design teams will spend the next 18 months completing design work, a phase that will include further public involvement. Discussions with the community will focus on aesthetic features such as lighting, colors and textures.
The $3.9-billion Ohio River Bridges Project addresses the long-term, cross-river transportation needs in the Louisville-southern Indiana region. In 2003, the Federal Highway Administration, Indiana Department of Transportation and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet agreed that the only feasible way to meet cross-river transportation needs was to construct two new bridges and rebuild the Kennedy Interchange.
Construction of the Bridges Project is scheduled for completion by 2020.