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$2.6B 'Impossible' Megaproject to Begin

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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Patience is a virtue. And after years of practicing it, residents in the Louisville-Southern Indiana region may finally see a much-needed, $2.6 billion transportation fix become reality.

The Ohio River Bridges Project—a megaproject that has been in discussion for over a decade—has finally picked proposals for each side of the project. The project will address long-term transportation needs in Kentucky and Indiana by rebuilding bridges from both states.

Photos: kyinbridges.com

After years of reworking plans, Kentucky and Indiana are set to start the Ohio River Bridges Project.

The Bridges Project will create more than 4,000 construction-related jobs over the next six years as one of the nation's largest transportation improvement projects, officials say.

East End Crossing

Earlier this month, the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) Board chose a public-private proposal from WVB East End Partners, a 24-member group of companies, to finance, build, operate, and maintain the East End Crossing between Utica, IN, and Prospect, KY.

The team includes Walsh Construction, a company that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet chose to build the Downtown Bridge and redesign Spaghetti Junction.

In making that selection, Indiana transportation and finance officials separately rated proposals from four teams and combined the scores. The portion of the bridges project that Indiana is responsible for—building the eastern span and roads leading to it—would cost $763 million in the WVB plan, down from an earlier estimate of $987 million.

Details on how WVB was able to slash more than $200 million from the construction cost were not immediately available, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation told the Courier-Journal.

Indiana's section would be done by Nov. 1, 2016, about eight months ahead of the state's required completion date.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said that choosing a plan marked the realization of "an impossible project."

Because both states will be able to reduce their construction costs, the tolls, which haven't been set yet, could be pushed lower, Daniels said. Currently, tolls are planned for the eastern bridge and both Interstate 65 bridges downtown.

Public-private funding and tolls will both be used for the $2.6 billion bridge project.

Downtown Crossing

in Kentucky, Walsh Construction Co. submitted a bid that would complete the Downtown Crossing for $860 million by Dec. 2016—$90 million less and 18 months earlier than the Transportation Cabinet had estimated.

Kentucky is responsible for the Downtown Crossing, which includes a new Interstate 65 bridge, a revamped Kennedy Bridge, and reconstructed interchanges between downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville, IN.

The total cost of the Downtown Crossing part of the project will exceed $1 billion including expenditures for land acquisition, utility relocation, preliminary design and consulting work, construction oversight, toll system development, and other necessary items, according to the Transportation Cabinet.

“We challenged the best transportation teams to deliver innovative, cost-efficient plans for the largest construction project in the history of Kentucky and Indiana,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock. “The result of this spirited competition will be a project that will cost less and take less time to build.”

The selections by both Kentucky and Indiana must still face public hearings in each state on Dec. 1, followed by an additional review by the finance authority on Dec. 3, and a joint legislative budget committee on Dec. 4.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; General contractors; Government contracts; Industrial design; Project Management

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