Lighted handrail installation begins on Big Four Bridge; opening delayed

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by WHAS editors

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 17 at 5:09 PM

INDIANAPOLIS – Crews with Hummel Electric have begun installation of lighted handrails for the Indiana approach ramp to the Big Four Bridge.

In addition, Gohmann Construction will return to the site within the next few days to install custom safety railing in a gap where the new ramp meets the bridge.

The $8.5 million project is being funded about 80 percent with Federal Highway Administration funds. The Indiana Department of Transportation is responsible for the contract to ensure the project meets federal funding requirements, including historic preservation and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The City of Jeffersonville designed the project, is paying the federal match and will own and maintain the ramp upon completion. Handrail lighting was chosen in consultation with the Old Jeffersonville Historic District to minimize ambient light from shining into nearby homes.

The safety of the public is a major factor in construction decisions. Because INDOT holds the contract, it is unable to take on the risk and liability of partially opening the ramp and completing construction “under traffic” alongside bicycles and pedestrians, both children and adults, which are not protected by seatbelts, airbags or steel safety cages.

The lighted handrail was designed to the exact specifications of the ramp once it was completed, and remaining pieces are still being manufactured. To expedite construction, the contractor accepted initial delivery of railing directly from the manufacturer in Wisconsin last week and trucked the materials to the site.

Initial deliveries are for the straight railing sections, which Hummel Electric will install on the ramp and stairway tower. Railings for curved sections of the ramp require extra production time, and the manufacturer expects those be available no later than May 23. Final installation of these sections will take a few weeks.

For those that wish to walk or bike across the Ohio River into Louisville, the Second Street/Clark Memorial Bridge remains open for this purpose. INDOT still hopes that the ramp will open before the U.S. 31 Clark Memorial Bridge closes in late May, but the schedule is very tight and weather dependent.

Schedule updates will be provided through this communications channel and via social media at http://facebook.com/INDOTSoutheast or http://twitter.com/INDOTSoutheast.
 

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