City says pedestrian bridge could reduce cost of Ohio River bridges project

Jeffersonville end of the Big Four Bridge
Jeffersonville end of the Big Four Bridge

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky, Indiana, and the city of Jeffersonville are pledging millions to pay for a bridge over the Ohio River, but it's not the kind you drive over. We went to Mayor Greg Fischer's office to get answers about why Louisville Metro would want to spend millions on a crossing that's not part of the Ohio River Bridges project.

Fischer spokesperson Chris Poynter explained that it could actually save money. Because the Big Four Bridge is just for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, the Ohio River Bridges project could eliminate its pedestrian component. The Waterfront Development Corporation estimates this could save at least $40 million.

Right now, building a new downtown bridge, east end bridge, and fixing Spaghetti Junction will cost an estimated $4 billion. For the pedestrian bridge, Indiana is pledging $8 million, Kentucky $12 million, and Jeffersonville $2 million for a ramp on its side.

"What has been a rusting blight for four decades is about to become a gem for Louisville and southern Indiana," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

The Big Four Bridge was built as a railroad bridge in 1895 and went out of service in 1969.

"The total commitment of $22 million will allow construction to start this spring and be completed in 2013," said Fischer.

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