Sherman Minton Bridge construction planned; detours, closures announced

New Albany businesses urge Louisville customers to keep crossing the river during bridge construction
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 11:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2021 at 12:36 AM EDT
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NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) - The I-64 Sherman Minton Renewal project is supposed to add 30 years to the life of the only bridge that links Louisville directly to New Albany. However, business owners are most immediately concerned with what happens over the next two years while the bridge is being fixed.

The Sherman Minton construction plan promises one lane of traffic in each direction will remain open for nearly 95% of the time. It is estimated the project will be complete in 843 total days of work.

Upcoming lane closures during construction:

  • I-64 West — Closed from 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27 to 6 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 30.
    • I-264 westbound ramp to I-64 westbound will be closed
    • I-64 westbound exit to West Elm Street in Indiana will be closed
  • I-64 East — Closed from 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10 to 5 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 13.
    • I-64 eastbound entrance ramp from West Spring Street will be closed
    • I-64 eastbound to I-264 eastbound ramp will be closed
    • Eastbound drivers on I-64 will be diverted to I-265, and traffic will have access to the New Albany exit at 5th Street/Spring Street

“The other bridges, they’re going to be congested,” Louis Schmitt, the president of Schmitt Furniture, said, “which will create an opportunity to get across this bridge. Maybe, maybe not. We just don’t know.”

25% of Schmitt Furniture employees and 45% of customers come from across the river. Schmitt said he is already looking for ways to stay ahead of looming traffic problems.

The bridge carries 70,000 cars a day with thousands from Louisville taking the first exit into downtown New Albany.

I-64 West to New Albany at 4:30 p.m. on Friday saw traffic slowing down a mile from the Sherman Minton Bridge. There was only one lane closed in both directions at the time, and it’s just the beginning of multiple lane closures to come.

The question now is whether disruptions on the bridge cause Louisville customers to stay home.

Melissa Poole crosses the Sherman Minton multiple times a week. On Friday, she joined family for dinner at Parlour in New Albany.

“I’ll definitely have to start using the toll bridge for sure, unfortunately,” Poole said.

Business owners in New Albany believe the key to success will be communication.

Him Gentlemen’s Boutique has been in New Albany for five years. Owner Ross Wallace said he tells customers daily how to keep coming back.

“You know the Kennedy Bridge, and there will be a toll,” Wallace said. “But I’ve been telling people you can go across the Second Street Bridge for no toll.”

More information on the Sherman Minton Renewal project can be found here.

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