Kennedy Bridge Could Have New Paint Job By End Of 2007

By Jeff Tang

(LOUISVILLE) -- After repeated setbacks, the Kennedy Bridge painting project may finally be moving forward. The state transportation cabinet recently received a $25.8 million bid on the project. If the offer is accepted, one of the city's biggest eyesores could have a brand new look by the end of next year. WAVE 3's Jeff Tang investigates.

On a visit from Tucson, Arizona, David Crittenden couldn't help but notice that something was wrong with the skyline of his hometown: Louisville.

"Um, could use a paint job," he said while snapping pictures of the Kennedy Bridge. "A little rusty right now. Wasn't like that when I was growing up."

The Kennedy Bridge was brand new when Crittenden was a kid, but much has changed with the structure since he left for Arizona more than 30 years ago.

Mainly, there's the rust, and Crittenden says rust "makes things look old. A new paint job would bring it back to where it used to be."

What out-of towners like Crittenden might not know is that the state has tried to paint the bridge twice already.

But locals like Clarence Sampson know it all too well. "It just doesn't make any sense," he said. "The first contractor should have finished it."

After seven years of delays, financial problems and contractor backouts, the state has a new bidder on the project: Michigan-based Atsalis Painting. It has offered to paint the bridge for $25.8 million -- about $6 million over the state's initial estimate.

"I think the price we got was generally in line with what we anticipated," said Marc Williams with the state transportation cabinet.

The state will spend the next week or so evaluating the deal. Folks at the waterfront are already evaluating what it will look like.

"It's worth it," Crittenden said.

"It'll certainly look a lot better," laughed Sampson.

This is actually the second time Atsalis Painting Company has bid on the Kennedy Bridge project. Its first offer was rejected on a technicality.

If the offer is accepted, and all goes according to plan, painting will likely get under way this fall and finish up next year.

Online Reporter: Jeff Tang

Online Producer: Michael Dever