Mayor Sounds Off on Bridge DelayPosted: Updated:
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore is expressing frustration with the Indiana Department of Transportation. The Indiana side of the Big Four Bridge is not expected to open to foot traffic by the end of the month as previously planned. Moore says city leaders were assured by INDOT temporary lighting would be installed and the bridge would be open by April 30. April 18, 2014
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (April 17, 2014) - Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore today expressed his disappointment and frustration with the Indiana Department of Transportation's (INDOT) reversal of its decision to open the Big Four Bridge on April 30th.
"The City of Jeffersonville has done everything possible to open the ramp," said Moore who was asking INDOT to open the ramp early. "Unfortunately, our repeated requests have fallen on deaf ears. Despite INDOT's assurances that the Big Four would open Derby Week, we are now told that it will remain closed. It's just the latest disappointment in INDOT's management of this project.
"The opening of the Big Four is nearly a year behind schedule. There has been one delay after another," said Moore. "The citizens of Jeffersonville deserve better than to have its side of the Big Four remain shut-down when it could be open now. INDOT will not allow an early opening despite the City’s recent steps."
At a special meeting of Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission on April 1, 2014, the commission approved the installation of temporary lighting on the ramp with an assurance from INDOT that the Big Four would open on April 30. The permanent lighting has been delayed due to design and manufacturing problems.
"The City did what INDOT wanted so we could open the Big Four. We were told that adding temporary lighting would solve the problem until the permanent lighting was installed. And now less than two weeks before opening, we're told we have to wait again," said Moore who noted the City was willing to assume all liability for an early opening of the bridge. "The City has done everything it has been asked to do. We've worked with INDOT to develop a plan to open the bridge sooner rather than later. But unfortunately, INDOT wants to keep it closed. It's very frustrating because it's an INDOT project."
Moore noted that each day the Big Four remains closed means fewer residents have a chance to enjoy the pedestrian walking bridge that links Jeffersonville to Louisville.
"The Big Four is an asset to our downtown. It will bring thousands of people into our city and quickly become a catalyst for economic development," said Moore. "It's disappointing that INDOT doesn’t recognize how important this project is to citizens of Jeffersonville. With INDOT’s refusal to allow us to open the bridge with temporary lighting, we are once again uncertain when the Big Four will be open."
Source: The Office of Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore
April 18, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 17, 2014) - Crews with Hummel Electric have begun installation of lighted handrails for the Indiana approach ramp to the Big Four Bridge. Photos of installation and the lights at night are available in the "Big Four Bridge handrails" album at www.facebook.com/INDOTSoutheast/photos_albums.
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.
Who is in charge?
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.
When will the ramp open?
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.
Source: The Indiana Department of Transportation