As heavily traveled ramps reopen, Ohio River Bridges tolling get - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

As heavily traveled ramps reopen, Ohio River Bridges tolling gets closer

Drivers have had to deal with their share of headaches due to the Ohio River Bridges Project, but officials say those headaches will soon ease. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Drivers have had to deal with their share of headaches due to the Ohio River Bridges Project, but officials say those headaches will soon ease. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Detours, cones, lane restrictions and backups. Drivers have had to deal with their share of headaches due to the Ohio River Bridges Project, but officials say those headaches will soon ease.

As key ramps are reopening and roadways are getting closer to open at full capacity, tolls are one step closer to being collected.

It's been nearly a year since Interstate 64 eastbound traffic has had direct access to I-65 north. Thursday morning that all changed, you can now get right on the Lincoln Bridge and head across the river.

“That wait has been a long one,” Ohio River Bridges Project spokesperson Mindy Peterson said.

Get ready Monday, the long awaited ramp to I-64 East and I-71 North for drivers on I-65 S will open. That also means five available lanes of traffic on the Kennedy Bridge.

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“That has been a big hole in the commute for thousands of drivers since January of this year,” Peterson said.

Delivery drivers, like George Sharp, said he can't wait.

“That's really going to help me out because I've got to go through town or if not, I've got to go all the way down to the Watterson, so this is really going to save on fuel,” Sharp said.

At this point the Lincoln Bridge will carry only I-65 northbound.

The ramp from I-65 South to I-64 West will remain closed for a few more weeks. Crews planned to reopen the ramp when the Kennedy reopened, but have additional work to do in the area. The ramp is expected to reopen in November.

Tolling is still on track to be in place by the end of the year.

“You don't have to wait for a date to know that tolling is coming, don't do that,” Peterson said. “Go ahead and get your account set up now, get your transponder and beat that late rush.”

RiverLink hosted a live chat on Twitter taking questions from drivers, like when will E-ZPass transponders be sent out? The answer? Late this fall.

One driver asked if money in a prepaid account ever expires? RiverLink said the balance rolls over month to month. 

As drivers, like Sharp prepare to pay tolls, it's really the big picture they are looking forward to.

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“This is going to be amazing when they finally get this finished,” Sharp said. “It really looks good now, you've got to admit that.”

Tolls are expected to start sometime in December and they may even begin before the East End Bridge is open. Peterson said it all depends on when the Kennedy and Lincoln have increased cross river capacity and the installation and testing of the new tolling system is complete.

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