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Public Invited To Walk Across New Downtown Bridge Next Month

Ohio River Bridges Project

The new bridge connecting downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville will have a one-day ceremonial opening — to foot traffic only — early next month.

Outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear will preside over a ribbon cutting on Dec. 5. Bridges project officials are inviting the public to walk across the bridge following the ceremony, according to a news release. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day.

“Over the coming decades, hundreds of thousands of people and cars will cross the bridge, but we’re creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before we open the bridge to traffic," Beshear said in the news release.

State officials announced this fall that the new bridge would open to vehicular traffic slightly sooner than expected. No specific date has been set, but state officials expect the bridge to open to motorists by Christmas.

Here is how to participate in the Dec. 5 walk:

Public access to the bridge, by foot and by shuttle, will be from Jeffersonville. Parking will be available at Water Tower Square (300 Missouri Avenue) and Colston Park (301 Mulberry Street). Jeffersonville Police will be assisting with traffic control.

TARC buses and City of Jeffersonville trolleys will provide free shuttle service from Water Tower Square. Court Avenue will be closed to traffic from North Shore Drive to Ohio Avenue to facilitate pedestrian and shuttle transport.

The ramp from I-65 North to Court Avenue will be closed to provide access to the bridge. Shuttles and trolleys will drop passengers at the end of the ramp, with participants walking to the deck of the bridge.

After walking up the ramp (1,000 feet), participants will walk the approach to the bridge (1,000 feet) and have the opportunity to walk nearly the length of the bridge (2,100 feet), before returning to the Court Avenue ramp. A complete circuit will total more than 1 ½ miles.

No pets, bicycles, skateboards or rollerblades will be allowed on the bridge. Limited parking for bikes is available in a number of locations in Jeffersonville.

Initially, the new downtown bridge will carry traffic in both directions while the existing Kennedy Bridge undergoes renovation work. The Kennedy is expected to be closed for about six months, though road work will continue after it reopens.

The entire project won't be completed until late 2016. When that happens, the Kennedy will carry six lanes south and the new unnamed downtown bridge will carry six lanes north.

The Ohio River Bridges Project also includes a new East End span. The entire project is expected to cost $2.6 billion. Tolls will be collected on the downtown, Kennedy and East End bridges, but won't be collected until the entire project is complete.

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