Big Four Bridge opens as pedestrian path

Published: Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:21 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 24, 2013 at 2:21 AM EDT
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Mike Kimmel
Mike Kimmel
A look across the walking deck of the Big Four Bridge.
A look across the walking deck of the Big Four Bridge.
The Big Four Bridge on the Kentucky side.
The Big Four Bridge on the Kentucky side.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For years, we've heard about it and waited. Thursday, we'll be able to walk across the Big Four Bridge in Louisville.

The project is giving new life to a bridge that's been part of Kentuckiana's landscape for more than a century.

The road to the straight, half-mile walking path was long, and it was winding.

"Well, it was originally put in the master plan for Waterfront Park in 1991," said Mike Kimmel, Vice President of the Waterfront Development Corporation.

He's been pushing the historic bridge toward its new 21st Century life.

"I'm just happy," Kimmel said. "It's hard to get the grin off my face as I'm walking across here most of the time because they've just done everything so well."

It was built for railroad traffic in 1895, but then closed in the late 60s. Thursday, walkers, joggers and bikers will climb it to cross the Ohio River and get a view of the city few of us have ever experienced, until now.

"To be able to mix the new with the old and to be able to see the beauty of the old, all the lacework of steel that you see up there, it's just a real treat," Kimmel said.

Kimmel said they've tried to keep some of the bridge's history in its current design, with marks where the trains used to run. Now instead of trains speeding by, you'll get to stop, sit and enjoy the scenery.

"They're going to be taken by the views," Kimmel said. "This is the best view of downtown Louisville that you can get from anywhere."

Pets on leashes are welcome on the bridge. Skateboards and roller blades are not.

If you want to use the Big Four Bridge, you'll have to get to it on River Road in Kentucky. The Indiana ramp is not finished yet, but it should be sometime this spring.

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