Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Preliminary Work Begins on Two Louisville Bridges

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Preliminary Work Begins on Two Louisville Bridges

Article excerpt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Crews on Monday started flattening long- abandoned buildings to make way for a wider interstate highway and begin the Ohio River bridges project that will create two new arteries connecting Kentucky and Indiana. "We have moved this bridges project out of the discussion phase and into the action phase," said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who led the applause as federal, state and local officials gathered to watch the start of demolition near Interstate 65.

A row of vacant buildings, which once churned out such products as elevators, electric motors and saw blades, will be razed as part of plans for a wider, redesigned I-65 that will carry traffic from the existing Kennedy Bridge, which will be converted to southbound use only.

A new bridge planned just east of the Kennedy Bridge will carry northbound I-65 traffic over the Ohio River.

The $2.6 billion project will build two new bridges, one in downtown Louisville and the other on the east side of the metropolitan area. It also will upgrade interchanges. The project won federal approval last month.

The previous owners of the property will pay for the environmental cleanup of the grounds that include contamination from heavy metals, Beshear said. Demolition work is expected to take about a month.

A cluster of the century-old buildings will be preserved for redevelopment, the governor said.

State officials are negotiating terms of a potential sale of the preserved buildings. The prospective buyer, which has not been identified, has submitted plans to redevelop the 1.5-acre tract near the city's minor-league baseball stadium, which has spurred other development in the area.

Officials on both sides of the river are looking to the long- debated bridges project as a job creator that, when complete, will ease the area's traffic congestion that became more snarled during a series of recent infrastructure woes. …

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