What’s the latest update on the construction of the $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges project?

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s project manager, Andy Barber who is in charge of the Downtown Crossing portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project, it is more than halfway complete. As of October 21, the placement of the first steel beams on the soon-to-be new northbound bridge for Interstate 65 that will connect downtown Louisville with Jeffersonville was announced at a news conference by officials of the bridges project. This construction milestone on the towers that have been standing in the river will start making it look like a bridge.

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Construction Of New Cable-Stayed Bridge 
On Tower 5, two 142 foot long edge girders, each weighing 150,000 pounds, were being secured, nearest to the Indiana shoreline. Additional steel supports will be provided to the girders after which they will be topped with concrete panels to create a pier table of 120 feet long and 98 foot wide. The bridge’s floor will be made up of over 12 million pounds of steel.

The proposed design for the new cable-stayed bridge in Downtown Crossing.

Precast Concrete Deck Panels
Bridge workers will use cranes to lift the precast concrete deck panels after the steel has been set in place. The precast concrete deck panels made in Cincinnati and delivered to the site by barge will be placed on top of the steel.

Stay Cables For Additional Support
Stay cables – which will provide additional support for the bridge deck, will be installed as soon as the steel and deck panels are in place. Building the pier table that will help support the interstate will take about two months. This would include installation of the precast concrete deck panels and fastening of stay cables attached either directly to the upper pylons or towers using concrete or installed steel anchor boxes or pulled and anchored to the sides of the precast concrete deck using appropriate anchor and fastening systems reinforced by Steel SAE 1010 Flat Washers and permanent nuts.

Ongoing construction showing the Indiana tower with recently attached steel girders.

Bridge Sections
Workers will then use cranes as they add pre-assembled steel frames that weigh 240,000 pounds each. Each section includes:

  • 2 edge girders
  • 3 floor beams
  • One set of stay cables to the tower

Construction On Target
According to the project manager of Walsh Construction Co, Max Rowland, pre-assembled panels will be delivered to the bridge and installed in 45-foot sections. These sections will be attached to the bridge using stay cables. Each of the towers will have seven pairs of stay cables to secure the bridge. For the rest of 2014 and the most part of 2015, the contractor for the downtown portion of the bridge project will be setting steel. Rowland said the bridge construction is still on target to hit the projected completion date of April 2016.

The full downtown project which includes reworking the ramps and highway that make up the Spaghetti Junction is expected to be completed by December 2016.

Backgrounder: The Ohio River Bridges Project
Increasing cross-river mobility is the main purpose of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project. This can be achieved by:

  • Alleviating traffic congestion
  • Connecting highways
  • Improving safety

The Ohio River Bridges Project is projected to stimulate the economic activities in the entire Louisville-Southern Indiana region. To meet these needs, the Federal Highway Administration’s Record of Decision deems that two crossings are necessary. One crossing is to be in the downtown area, and the other crossing is to be eight miles upstream in the East End.

The East End Crossing Project
The East End Crossing Project will connect the east end of Louisville to Southern Indiana. I-265 or the Gene Snyder Freeway or KY 841 will be extended by the Kentucky approach to the new bridge, from its present termination at US 42 to the bridge. The Kentucky approach will be a four-lane, 1.4 mile section while the Indiana approach, likewise a four-lane section will extend SR 265 or the Lee Hamilton Highway by four miles for its current termination at SR 62 to the bridge.

The other portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project is the East End Crossing.

The Downtown Crossing Project
Leading the financing, design and construction of the Downtown Crossing Project – the other half of the Ohio River Bridges Project, is the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). The Downtown Crossing Project includes building a new I-65 cable-stayed bridge with 6 northbound lanes; reconfiguring of Spaghetti Junction (I-64, I-65 and I-71); reconfiguring Indiana roadways and bridge approaches, and rehabilitation of the Kennedy Bridge with 6 southbound lanes.

Are you excited to see what the new cable-stayed bridge would look like after completion?

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