NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) - A more than $90 million renovation project is on the way for the Sherman Minton Bridge. There’s still a debate on whether the bridge should be closed or open during the extended project.
The New Albany City Council said it wants to keep the bridge open because it believes a complete closure would cause harm to the community.
Nearly 90,000 people cruise over the Sherman Minton Bridge daily. When construction starts some of those drivers don't want to find another route.
"My main thought about it is its toll free,” said Bill Isgrigg who uses the bridge often.
Bill and Amber Isgrigg said detouring to other bridges comes with a cost and takes longer. They'd rather deal with traffic.
“If they have to do construction on it, leave at least one lane open,” said Amber.
Our partners at the News and Tribune stated a New Albany Council member said closing the Sherman could cost working families $40 a week on tolls. Stan Bunzy who lives in new Albany and uses the bridge to commute said that's not an acceptable option.
"It would be unfair because it would force people to take the toll bridge and some people can't afford it,” said Bunzy. “It's inconsiderate of them. Those repairs needed to be done before the Big Four project. I think they need to prioritize and consider the little people."
The council voted unanimously on a resolution to encourage the Indiana Department of Transportation to let people cross the Ohio on the Sherman Minton during the $90 million construction project.
To cross or not cross is a major concern to people who rely on the free bridge. However, for people who don’t use the bridge frequently like Mike Kaufer, some said they understand its role in the city but aren’t personally impacted.
"I don't travel outside of city limits so golly it wouldn't bother me a bit,” said Kaufer.
While Kaufer stays unbothered the Sherman Minton Renewal project team is considering six different ways to handle traffic during the construction. One method is to completely close the bridge.
Construction is expected to start on the bridge in 2021.