Sherman Minton to reopen in six months, businesses benefiting from locals


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on October 1, 2011 at 12:17 AM

Updated Saturday, Oct 1 at 12:22 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- We now have an official time line on when the Sherman Minton will reopen.

The Governors of Kentucky and Indiana came together today to announce that plans are to reopen the bridge in possibly six months . It comes with a  multimillion dollar price tag, but for suffering New Albany businesses, it is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Repair work has already begun on the Sherman Minton Bridge but we now know it will cost 20 million dollars and be completed in six months .

But for many New Albany businesses that have already taken a huge financial hit,  many that we spoke to Friday night, say they are cautiously optimistic.

Inside Wick's Pizza, business appears to be booming. The tables are full and there i even clever drink specials to bring folks in. But manager Scott Randall told WHAS11 that Shermageggon took a bite out their business. But he also says locals helped them out of the slump.

"I think the local people are coming in. We lost some Louisville business but we have more local business," said Randall.

Now with a definite time line in place to repair the bridge, he is hopeful in six months it could pick up even more.

Both Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced today what the whole community has been waiting to hear:

"This will cost somewhere in the vicinity of 20 million dollars and hopefully a maximum of six months," says Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

Daniels says inspections found problems with about forty percent of the bridge welds. Once work is complete on the cracks and the critical load bearing tie is repaired, it will be plated with a redundant three million pounds of steel.

"People can know with real confidence that this is a totally safe structure before we open it, " says Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Indiana will begin awarding winning bids to contractors in mid October. And there are incentives for getting the job done early . Up to a 100,000 dollars per day, each day that the work is done ahead of schedule.