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Kennedy Bridge to open to southbound traffic next week

It’s expected to carry five lanes of traffic by Monday


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2016) – The John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge is expected to reopen to I-65 South traffic by early next week. When the bridge reopens to southbound traffic, direct access from I-65 South to I-64 East and I-71 North will be restored.

The Kennedy Bridge, which is currently carrying one lane of traffic, is expected to open to five lanes of southbound traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10.

“Reopening these two key ramps will mean safer and faster commutes for thousands of drivers,” said Rob Harris, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet project manager. “Each ramp and lane we reopen is getting us closer to the finish line. Substantial completion of the Downtown Crossing is expected by early December.”

Two Ramps to Reopen

When the Kennedy opens to southbound traffic, the ramps from I-65 South to I-64 East and I-71 North will reopen. The ramps have been closed since January 2016. More than 22,000 drivers use the two ramps on a daily basis.

The ramp from I-65 South to I-64 West will remain closed for a few more weeks to allow crews to complete additional work in the area. The ramp is expected to reopen in November. Around 5,500 drivers use the ramp each day.

Traffic on the Kennedy and Lincoln

Crews with Walsh Construction will be moving I-65 South traffic from the Abraham Lincoln Bridge to the Kennedy Bridge. The Lincoln Bridge has been carrying two-way traffic since December 2015.

The Kennedy Bridge will open to five lanes of southbound traffic. The far right lane of the Kennedy (west lane) will remain closed. The next two lanes will carry drivers to ramps to I-64 East and I-71 North. The middle driving lane will carry traffic to Jefferson Street in Downtown Louisville. The two lanes on the far left (east lanes) will carry traffic over the bridge and continue onto I-65 South.

Continuing lane restrictions will remain in place on both I-65 North and 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.

Weekend Closures

Final preparations to move all I-65 South traffic to the Kennedy Bridge are scheduled to begin this weekend. Work will include paving, striping, removing barrels and temporary barrier wall.

Several closures will be in place so necessary work can be completed:

· Ramp from I-64 East to I-65 South
· Ramp from I-64 West to I-65 South
· Ramp from I-71 South to I-65 South
· Ramp from I-65 South to Jefferson Street/Brook Street
· One lane of I-65 South from the Lincoln Bridge to Muhammad Ali Boulevard
· One lane of I-65 North from Muhammad Ali Boulevard to the Lincoln Bridge

The closures are scheduled to begin around 9 p.m. Friday and end by 5 a.m. Monday.

Improvements Made

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 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.