LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The East End Crossing is scheduled to open to traffic on Dec. 18. The public is invited to a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial caravan crossing to celebrate the opening.
The first 500 who register will join a police-escorted caravan across the bridge from Indiana to Kentucky following the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Participants will receive commemorative medallions featuring an etching of the new bridge.
It's been talked about for decades and under construction for two and a half years, now the excitement of having an opening day is setting in for East End drivers.
"I'm welcoming the bridge, I think it’s going to be great for people that live on both sides of the river," said Prospect resident, Harold Pass.
Pass said the new option to cross the river will save minutes and miles.
"I'm excited about it. There's a golf course over in Indiana; I play over there a lot. I got to go all the way downtown and cross the new bridge to get to the golf course, and this way it will probably save me about 10 or 15 minutes and I've got a sister-in-law lives over in Indiana. We go over and visit her quite often, and I've got to do the same thing, go downtown and cross the new bridge, and this way I'll just be able to go right across the river, from almost my house," Pass said.
Dan Hartlage, spokesperson for WVB East End Partners, said the public can get involved with the bridge's opening ceremony, but because of a lack of public parking there will not be a walk the bridge event like the Lincoln. Instead the first 500 cars who register starting this Saturday will be lead over the bridge by a police escort and given medallions like this one, handed out at the Lincoln event.
"It’s not really an exaggeration to say this is sort of like that spirit you have when you have a really cool Christmas present that you can’t wait for somebody to open it, and here we are just a few weeks before Christmas and there is going to be this really cool opening of the bridge and most people haven't seen it yet because it’s hard to access, you know," said Hartlage. "It's not something that, unlike the Lincoln bridge that we saw go up day after day, week after week, the East End bridge is a structure that most people have never seen in person because you can’t access it. You had to build a road in order to get there, in that sense there is a lot of anticipation for the community to see it and I think they will be dazzled by what they see."
Those interested can register at eastendcrossing.com/openingday starting at 10 a.m. on December 10.