Bridge opens to more than just vehicles

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After nearly a year of renovations and improvements, a busy stretch of road is open again. The Eastern Parkway Bridge near 3rd Street along the University of Louisville campus closed in late August 2009.

The planning had been in the works much longer than that, but was delayed due to funding issues. That is, until the state got involved.

"This project has happened because of your work, your efforts, your creativity, and taking and piecing together several funding sources to make it happen," said James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville.

The improvements don't stop at the bridge; other enhancements include improved ramps at I-65.

"We needed to fix a lot of deteriorating concrete. We wanted to improve safety, especially for pedestrians. We wanted better traffic flow. We wanted to improve the aesthetics of this area," Governor Steve Beshear said.

To make the road safer and cut down on speeding, officials cut down the number of lanes from four to two - one in each direction. That added a lot of green space to the area, but more importantly, it added a bicycle and pedestrian lane which many college students had hoped for.

"It's safer because there are ways for pedestrians to walk, versus having to go all the way around there like me," said student Hannah Held.

Now that it's done, drivers won't have to deal with those pesky and time-consuming detours.

"It would add like 15 minutes to my daily schedule because I had to go around, so this way I'll be able to cut time and get there faster," said student Jordyn Underwood.

With the governor's ceremonial ride in a convertible with the UofL Cardinal Bird mascot, the bridge is back in business as a nearly $8 million project comes to a close.

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