Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the expected early completion of the Downtown Crossing portion of the $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges Project represents a key accomplishment for "national model for collaboration" between states. The bridge is now slated to open to traffic in mid to late-December. Ellspermann tells Inside INdiana Business the project that began more than two years ago will be "one of the greatest economic boons" for southeast Indiana and the Louisville region.
The Downtown Crossing was initially slated to be finished in January. State officials say the work will wrap up on-budget.
The full scope of the project includes the new Downtown Crossing, which is Kentucky’s focus, the new East End Crossing, led by Indiana, as well as resurfacing and infrastructure work to the existing, six-lane John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, which was built more than 50 years ago. The entire project, including tunnels, connecting ramps and other infrastructure, is set to be complete by the end of next year.
She says opening the spans will have a positive economic effect on the region and even beyond. "It bodes well for future projects," Ellspermann says. "We have great benefits to be gained if we can continue to demonstrate this kind of collaboration across our states’ boundaries."
The Downtown Crossing also includes reconfiguration of the "spaghetti junction" that includes I-64, I-65 and I-71. During a news conference Monday in Louisville, Kentucky Governor Steve Bashear said, "in January, I stood at the base of this massive project and announced we were accelerating the schedule. Today, I’m walking on this beautiful new bridge and telling you we’re moving even faster than expected. Drivers will get an early present – you will be driving on the new bridge by Christmas!"
Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the cooperation between Kentucky and Indiana “bodes well” for current and future projects.