LOUISVILLE, Ky. (News Release) -- Mayor Greg Fischer, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and Ky. Rep. Larry Clark were at the Louisville airport Tuesday morning to officially open the Crittenden Drive connector.
The new roadway crosses over the CSX railroad tracks and connects Strawberry Lane to Crittenden Drive and is part of a new project designed to accommodate more runway space.
It is the first of three phases of the Crittenden Drive Relocation Project, costing $9.6 million of a $28 million plan, according to the Louisville Regional Airport Authority.
Officials say a section of Crittenden needs to be closed so the taxiway attached to the western runway can be lengthened to accommodate the newest, largest long-range commercial jets in the industry.
"The construction … allows us to move forward as a 21st century airport, serving both cargo and passenger needs," said Skip Miller, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority.
"It is key to maintaining our competitive position with peer airparks worldwide, particularly now that the A-380 (manufactured by Airbus) and B-7478 (Boeing) are in service," he said.
The next step is Phase Two, which is expected to begin in November and involves creation of a 1.25-mile stretch of road that will eliminate the second of two "pinch points" where Crittenden encroaches on the mandatory clearance zone for the new taxiway. The plan also will allow for the relocation of FedEx's aircraft parking area and employee lot.
The new overpass is 35 feet at its tallest and will cross over four active CSX tracks, on which 40 to 60 trains travel daily.