Bridge project to bring more changes for I-65 South traffic - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Bridge project to bring more changes for I-65 South traffic

Posted: Updated:
The new roadway (at top) that will be handling I-65 south traffic. The new roadway (at top) that will be handling I-65 south traffic.
The current traffic pattern on I-65 South approaching the Jefferson St. exit ramp. The current traffic pattern on I-65 South approaching the Jefferson St. exit ramp.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Phase One of the Ohio River Bridges Project is almost complete. The next phase will shift the flow of Interstate 65 Southbound from the Kennedy Bridge and Interstate 71 South and Interstate 64 West.

With so many projects going on at once the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will have to pick and choose what to warn you about and when.

"Obviously, there's work that needs to be done," said Bill Lawrence, a Crestwood Drive resident. "The bridges and such need to be completed, but I have hope."

Hope's boost came on the afternoon of June 18.

"We're getting ready to open a section of the new I-65 Southbound," said Andy Barber, project manager for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The section will stretch from Witherspoon to Muhammad Ali Boulevard. I-71 South and I-64 West are scheduled to feed into it starting June 21. I-65 Southbound traffic from the Kennedy Bridge will begin using it Sunday.

"If you're coming around from 64 to 71, you lose that outside lane presently," Barber said. "After this shift, you lose that outside lane earlier than what you do now."

The shift means construction will move between I-65's North and Southbound lanes, said Max Rowland, a Walsh Construction representative.

"The first thing that you'll see is bridge demolition, tearing down the bridges that are in there now, all the way from Main and Market and Jefferson all the way down to Muhammad Ali," Rowland said.  "We'll be driving pilings again, pouring concrete for the substructure, and setting beams."

This second phase could take almost a year.

"Then, the current traffic (on I-65 Northbound) will be switched on to that center section," Rowland said. "That will allow us to move into the third phase, removing the existing Northbound and redo."

The new roadway means I-65 South will have only two lanes of through traffic. Eventually, it will be the distributor-connector when the Bridges project is complete. 

Other projects aren't so clear cut. Lawrence looks at some of the signage and sighs.

"I think they could do a better job, just warning people I guess," he said. "If TRIMARC or the Cabinet could let us know what's going on; i.e. ‘this is a bad way to go' or ‘that's not a bad way to go.'"

"We have the ability to put up a sign in a matter of seconds after something happens," said Tim Emington, TRIMARC Operations Manager. "We try to keep them as accurate as possible."

TRIMARC has two dozen electronic signs around Jefferson County, but one can say only so much in three lines, with 21 characters.

"You can't create distractions," Emington said. "If there are several incidents ahead, we usually try to just sign for the first incident ahead."

TRIMARC also doesn't keep regular evening work hours either.

"As far as them becoming a 24-hour service, I don't have an answer for that now," Barber said. "It has been discussed."

After the traffic pattern becomes routine Barber believes most drivers won't notice much of a change in their commute times.

"The intent is to have times comparable," he said. "You should have plenty of lead time to react. We don't want drivers having to make split-second decisions."

Crescent Hill resident Perry Logdson doubts he'll need an extensive "heads-up."

"That's the key I know all the back-roads around here," said a laughing Logdson. "This'll be a nice city if they ever get it all finished."

Lawrence agrees.

"I've lived here virtually all my life," said Lawrence. "So, if I don't know where the alternate routes are I'm in bad shape."

 

WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

https://www.facebook.com/TrimarcTraffic

https://twitter.com/TRIMARCTraffic

Copyright 2014