Bridge construction begins with on time, under budget pledge


by Joe Arnold

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 2 at 3:46 PM

UTICA, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Calling the start of East End Bridge construction a "great victory for leadership," Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) led a commemoration on Wednesday morning atop a bluff in the path of the planned Ohio River span.

"We're rolling our sleeves up and we're going to go to work," Pence said, "and we're going to get this east end bridge done."

Pence pledged the bridge to complete the I-265 loop between Utica, Indiana and Prospect, Kentucky will be completed by its October, 2016 deadline and under its $763 million budget.

The estimated construction cost is $224 million less than the original project estimate.

As construction ramps up, so will construction delays. 

While most of the Indiana bridge approach is on open acreage, construction in Kentucky carves into where people live and drive.

"I don't think we do congestion very well around here," said Paul Brooks.  "You'll probably find a lot of people angry. A lot of road rage."

"The city is doing well to adapt to things," countered Hannah Jaggers.  "Look how quickly we get out of Thunder (Over Louisville) now.  I mean, they are making routes available to the people that live in this city and as long as we take the advice that the city planners give us, I think we'll be fine."

Much of the traffic impact will be felt by drivers at US 42 and the Gene Snyder Freeway (Ky 841).  A new traffic signal will be added on the freeway about 2,000 feet south of the interchange to allow construction traffic to safely enter and  exit.

To accommodate a reconfiguration of U.S. 42 traffic in mid-June, the pavement will be temporarily widened.  Construction crews on Wednesday were pouring concrete near the entrance of the Bridgepointe subdivision.

One left-turn lane from westbound U.S. 42 onto KY 841 (which currently consists of two lanes) will be closed.  The dedicated right-turn lane from eastbound U.S. 42 onto KY 841 will be closed and northbound KY 841 ramp traffic will be shifted at U.S.42.

"We'll be shifting and narrowing traffic in order to accommodate the construction workers to give them safe room to operate and get the work done," explained Will Wingfield of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).

Excavation activities are planned along KY 841 near U.S. 42 and the planned KY 841 at River Road.

Blasting near the intersection of U.S. 42 and KY 841 will begin in mid-June.  Prior to each blast, traffic within 800 feet will be stopped.  Each stoppage may last from about five minutes to 20 minutes.  Traffic stops for blasting are planned to occur during off-peak hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Once blasting begins, there generally will be about two to four blasts per day.  Weekly notifications will be sent out with more specifics.

INDOT said it is also important to note that U.S. 42 will maintain its two lanes of traffic in each direction throughout the construction period.

"For the next few months, I think you are going to see utility relocations in Kentucky and Indiana," explained Sid Florey, a project executive with WVB East End Partners.  "You'll see some traffic switches.  You'll see a south portal of a tunnel being excavated. You'll see some temporary trestles going into the water for both towers three and four."

A barge is moored nearer the Kentucky shoreline with test boring for eventual bridge piers.