JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) – The Big Four Bridge is now entirely open from Jeffersonville to Louisville. The “Kentucky side” of the bridge opened in February of 2013 but the “Indiana side” has taken longer to open.
The Indiana Department of Transportation finished installing lighted handrails on the bridge and crews performed a final inspection on Monday.
Warren Williams, of Louisville, was the first person to ride over to Indiana from Kentucky on the Big Four Bridge on Tuesday. He says he has personally been waiting 13 years for the opening. Williams was excited to be the first. “I guess that makes me a charter member," he said.
Hundreds of people showed up to the Big Four Bridge on Tuesday for the opportunity to say they walked, biked, and jogged, from Kentucky to Indiana. Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer held a joint press conference on the bridge at 2 p.m. to announce the opening of the ramp in Jeffersonville. The cost of Indiana’s ramp is $8.5 million dollars. The federal government is paying 80 percent of that. Fischer says he will now be able to answer the question that has been concerning Louisvillians. “They've always asked the same question for over a year now, when can we go to Indiana?,” Fischer said.
Pearl Street Treats is a yogurt shop located near the base of the bridge on the Jeffersonville side. Owner Lynn Rhodea says she is very excited about the opening. "Oh I am just thrilled,” she said. Rhodea’s shop has been struggling since it opened earlier this year. "There were times when it was very hard not to give up,” she recalls. Rhodea is hoping the new foot traffic will provide the boost the business needs.
Williams, who hosts an event for cyclists called “Bridge to nowhere,” now says the wait was worthwhile. "Now that it's open, it's open forever," he said.