Bridges could be up two times faster than expected

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - The Ohio River Bridges Project was supposed to take 12 years, but Kerry Stemler, co-chair of the Bridges Authority, says they may be able to slash that in half, which could save hundreds of millions of dollars.

The total cost of the project is $4.1 billion of which The Authority estimates $800 million is inflation--cut the time, save the money.

"Time is the enemy and always has been in this project," said Stemler.

The Ohio River Bridges Project is scheduled to take 12 years. To put that in perspective--from start to finish that's about the length of a kid's entire education before college.

"This project is costing, growing in price an excess of $10 million every month of delay," said Stemler. "Let's put it in reverse."

$10 million saved for each month, for six years equals $720 million.

There may be some overlapping, however, with the time saving and the Governors plan, however, they are separate ideas. Governors Steve Beshear and Mitch Daniels proposed saving half a billion dollars by fixing, but not moving spaghetti junction, making the east end bridge four lanes instead of six, and eliminating the pedestrian lane on the new downtown bridge.

"I believe we can bring a lot of cost out of this project, getting it to the lowest possible number, and bring the amount of tolls to the least possible amount," said Stemler.

There's only so much they can plan with tolls, however, until the federal government approves it. So for now, they're spending time, waiting.

Gary Valentine with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says they are expecting to "share details" from the Federal Highway Administration "soon."

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