Transportation Update: Construction teams get go-ahead to start initial work on both crossings of Bridges Project

-1LOUISVILLE (Dec. 28, 2012) – The Ohio River Bridges Project is moving ahead to construction in the new year with both states issuing “notice to proceed” on initial work for the teams that will build the Downtown and East End Crossings.

Indiana and Kentucky have signed contracts with their respective construction teams, paving the way for pre-construction work including final design, geotechnical drilling and field surveys on both crossings.  Both states are acquiring the remaining parcels of property needed to begin construction in early summer 2013 on both the Downtown and East End Crossings.

Kentucky and Indiana are dividing responsibility for construction and oversight of the Bridges Project with Kentucky leading on the Downtown Crossing and Indiana leading on the East End Crossing. Here’s a summary of activities on each crossing:

East End Crossing

One of the most visible signs of progress on the project will be tree cutting and vacant building demolition along the East End Crossing route starting on or after Tuesday, January 15.  The Indiana Department of Transportation has issued contracts for clearing trees and demolishing vacated buildings within the right-of-way secured for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Gohmann Construction Inc. of Clarksville, Ind., will perform work in the Utica, Ind., area and Dan Cristiani Excavating, also of Clarksville, will perform work in the Prospect, Ky., area. Due to environmental requirements, trees must be cut before April 1. Impacts to forested areas are being mitigated by planting or preserving additional areas of trees outside of the construction limits.

Following the announcement of Commercial Close, Indiana has issued an initial notice to proceed to WVB East End Partners for the East End Crossing. The team of Walsh Investors, VINCI Concessions, Bilfinger Berger and other regional, national and international firms was selected for its proposal to design and build Indiana’s portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project for $224 million less than estimated and open it to traffic by the end of October 2016. A second and final notice to proceed will be issued following “financial close” on the financial terms of the procurement, which is anticipated in early spring of 2013.

Construction continues on a 3,000-foot extension of Old Salem Road, which broke ground in late August. Gohmann Asphalt and Construction Inc. is pouring concrete, driving steel pilings and placing fill for a 170-foot overpass at the first exit on the Indiana side of the East End Bridge. Contractors are also excavating and blasting to install new drainage pipes.

The East End Crossing will complete an interstate loop around Louisville by connecting the Gene Snyder Freeway (Ky. 841) with the Lee Hamilton Highway (Ind. 265).

Downtown Crossing

Kentucky is responsible for the Downtown Crossing portion of the Bridges project, which will build a new I-65 northbound bridge and reconfigure nearby interchanges in downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind.

Demolition is under way on the former Baer Fabric building in downtown Louisville to make room for the expanded southbound I-65. The vacant, four-story building at 515 E. Market St. is being deconstructed by HCL Demolition to salvage bricks, beams and other building materials for reuse.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet this week issued notice to proceed to Walsh Construction Co., leader of a “design-build” team that includes local, regional and national firms that will construct the Downtown Crossing.

Walsh will complete design work on the new bridge, interstate connections and geotechnical drilling, and develop staging areas for materials and equipment in the coming weeks. They are also working with industrial painting services to provide the bridge a more resistant layer of protection from rust, corrosion, extreme weather, fire, and other damaging elements.

Walsh’s cost-cutting, time-saving proposal will reduce construction costs by more than $90 million and save more money in asset finance for construction by completing the Downtown Crossing by December 2016, nearly 19 months ahead of schedule.

The Downtown Crossing will reduce traffic congestion and improve safety in the region’s busiest transportation hub with the construction of a new Ohio River bridge for northbound Interstate 65 traffic. The Kennedy Memorial Bridge will be reconfigured to carry southbound I-65.

The Downtown Crossing also includes reconfigured interchanges on both the Kentucky and Indiana sides of the river. The project will untangle the Kennedy Interchange, commonly called “Spaghetti Junction,” where I-65, I-64 and I-71 merge in downtown Louisville.

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