Sketch of the proposed East End Bridge (Source: Ohio River Bridges Authority)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An agreement has been reached allowing the construction of the Ohio River Bridges project to move forward.
The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet have reached a settlement agreement with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and River Fields.
River Fields has been locked in opposition against a proposed East End Bridge asking for the Downtown Bridge to be built first.
While the lawsuit has
dangled in front of project leaders since 2009, they say it never stopped or
delayed the overall bridges project.
Chuck Wolfe with KYTC
explained, "We have been proceeding with the project because there never was a
restraining order or any kind of court intervention to halt work on the
project. What the settlement does really is bring clarity to the project."
That's clarity that
contractors and crews who will build the bridge needed to continue moving
Mayor Greg Fischer said of
the agreement, "It's great news, obviously there's been huge momentum with the
bridges project and now we're finally getting this thing off after four decades
and the River Fields issue needed to be dealt with and it seems to be a real
win for everybody involved."
After years of back and forth, project leaders said they cannot
pinpoint a cost the suit may have caused.
"Litigation always has a
cost, it's not free," said Wolfe.
But now leaders say they
aren't looking to the past, they're just looking to the future.
"2013 will be a big year for
the bridges project with lots of construction jobs and we'll be getting
underway," explained Fischer.
Friday's agreement means there will be simultaneous construction of the downtown and east end portions of the Project.
The settlement agreement includes a range of commitments by INDOT and KYTC regarding the protection of historic properties, public involvement and communications during construction of the project, as well as issues related to drainage and water runoff.
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