Bridge expected to reopen to southbound traffic in 1½ weeks
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2016) – Extensive improvements to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge are nearly complete, with the bridge scheduled to reopen to I-65 South traffic in October. When the bridge reopens to southbound traffic, direct access from I-65 South to I-64 East, I-64 West and I-71 North will be restored.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said crews with Walsh Construction are on track to open the Kennedy Bridge to southbound traffic in about 1½ weeks. If the weather cooperates, the Kennedy Bridge should be open to three lanes of traffic by early Monday, Oct. 10. When that happens, two lanes will carry through traffic to I-65 South. A third lane will carry traffic to I-64 East, I-64 West and I-71 North.
“When the improved Kennedy Bridge reopens, it will shave miles and minutes from drivers’ commutes,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “Even more exciting is the fact that we’re on track for substantial completion of the Ohio River Bridges Project by the end of the year. These new and improved bridges will mean safer and faster commutes on both sides of the river and increased economic opportunities for our states.”
Gov. Bevin, Indiana Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Kentucky Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas were able to get a first-hand look at the work on the Kennedy, get an update from project leaders and thank workers during a visit to the deck of the Kennedy Bridge this afternoon.
“It’s impressive to see the progress made and gratifying to thank some of the men and women working on this project,” said Lt. Gov. Holcomb. “The finish line is in sight, not only for drivers crossing the river from downtown Louisville to Jeffersonville, but for the many residents who have waited years for an East End bridge. After decades of talk, we’ve been able to get this project moving and it will soon be complete.”
“The debate started decades ago, and now we’re less than a few months away from completing work on the Louisville – Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas. “We came together and worked together, and the benefits are going to soon be realized by our drivers and our region.”
Opening the Kennedy Bridge
On Friday, the Kennedy Bridge is expected to start carrying one lane of traffic from Southern Indiana into Kentucky. Traffic from Stansifer Avenue, 10th Street and Court Avenue will use the Kennedy Bridge to cross the river, while crews install final barrier wall between I-65 North and I-65 South.
Final preparations to move all I-65 South traffic to the Kennedy Bridge are scheduled to begin Saturday, October 8. Work will include paving, striping, removing barrels and temporary barrier wall. The bridge is expected to be open to three lanes of traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, October 10.
The far right lane of the Kennedy Bridge (west lane) will carry drivers to ramps to I-64 East, I-64 West and I-71 North. The next two lanes will carry traffic over the bridge and continue onto I-65 South.
The Kennedy Bridge will carry six lanes of I-65 South traffic when the project is complete. The adjacent Abraham Lincoln Bridge will carry six lanes of I-65 North traffic. Both bridges are expected to fully open by early December.
Major improvements have been made to the Kennedy Bridge, with a new floor system installed. The old deck was demolished and old steel removed.
The new floor system was built on top of existing floor beams, with all new stringers, bearings and diaphragms the length of the Kennedy Bridge. In all, more than 3.5 million pounds of steel were replaced. The improvements are expected to add at least 35-years of new life to the 52-year old bridge.
The bridge fully closed to traffic in January to allow the extensive improvements to be made.
The Downtown Crossing includes the new Abraham Lincoln Bridge, an improved Kennedy Bridge and interstate connections on both sides of the river. Substantial completion of the entire Downtown Crossing is scheduled for December 2016.
Find all of the latest traffic information and more details on the Ohio River Bridges Project at www.kyinbridges.com.