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Ohio River Bridges project

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SLC: Tolling is a viable option that would divert much truck traffic

from I-64 to I-65 and vice versa. An expanded I-265, which could be

renumbered I-64 as part of the 8664 plan, would generate revenue for

the state.

I also have another proposal: Kill the Interstate 66 project. Already

deemed a huge waste of money (except for in Pike county, of course),

the $2 billion in costs could be diverted elsewhere.


"FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Lawmakers plan to consider tolls, federal loans and

partnerships between private developers and state government to help

pay for Kentucky's share of the $3.9 billion Ohio River Bridges


The project's cost rose nearly 60 percent, according to a new report,

prompting legislators to seek alternative funding and possible schedule

changes for building the two bridges and redesigning Spaghetti

Junction. "

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SLC: The public's opinion had no weight in the discussion --


"Cable-stayed bridges with towers rising hundreds of feet into the air

are the designs chosen for two new Ohio River bridges, a committee

announced Tuesday.

The 10-member design committee unanimously selected the bridge designs

during a 30-minute meeting in Jeffersonville, Ind."


"Although the public was asked to vote for its favorite designs, neither

of their selections were chosen by the committee."

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Big Four walkway could get $10 million

Essentially, money that would be used to construct a pedestrian crossing alongside the new, parallel Kennedy Bridge would be used for the Big Four span, which is adjacent.

Article information: "Bridges money may be shifted, Big Four walkway could get $10 million, By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, Monday, March 5, 2007"


Panel wants bridge designs picked near end of year

Hearing today on bridges

And related --

$1 million gained for bike path

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Kentucky ponders privatizing bridges

Key --

1. The Ohio River bridges project, considered to be a 'mega project' (since it is a venture over $1 billion in price), has an estimated price tag of $3.9 billion which is only increasing. It was originally projected to be $2.5 billion.

1a. Kentucky is responsible for ~$2.8 billion. Only $98 million in state and federal funds have been committed.

1b. The state's six-year road plan calls for $789 million in financing.

1c. Indiana is spending $700 million on the project.

2. Many states are finding that private-public partnerships are the only feasible ways to fund such projects.

3. The topic of private-public partnerships surfaced this week during the first debate in the Kentucky governor's race.

3a. Such tolls could be collected by a private enterprise to recoup the investment cost.

4. The Ohio River bridges project -- which includes the reconstruction of the Spaghetti Junction and two new Ohio River crossing -- also has to share financing with another mega project, the Brent Spence Bridge replacement in Northern Kentucky (Interstate 75) and the Interstate 69 Ohio River bridge in Henderson.

4a. Such projects are traditionally funded by tapping into gasoline tax revenues, but paying for the Ohio River bridges project alone would consume 13% of the state's highway spending over the next two decades.

4b. A federal fund that provides the bulk of the state's highway money is expected to go bankrupt by 2009, according to government estimates.

4c. Democrats and republicans both state that tolling may be the only realistic option left to finance the megaproject.

5. The funding crisis has its roots in the 1950s when the Federal Highway Trust Fund was established to help pay for the nation's interstate system. It collects gasoline and other vehicle-use taxes and disburses money to the states. The bulk of the funding comes from drivers paying a federal gas tax of 18.4 cents/gallon.

5a. Kentucky budgets $1 billion annually for highway construction; $700 million comes from the trust fund.

5b. But because of lagging gas taxes, the fund is spending more money than it receives -- and is only increasing.

5c. In 2009, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the fund's highway account will run a deficit. States and the federal government have been reluctant to impose higher gas taxes on drivers who are already paying more at the pump.

6. In order to solve this crisis that is looming, states are permitting 'public-private partnerships'. So far, 21 states have passed laws allowing it. Kentucky is not one of them.

6a. Tolls were not part of the federal agreement that allowed the Ohio River bridges project to advance to this stage. If the state considers tolls, the agreement would need to be reexamined that could halt work on the project and add $14 million/month to the total cost.

Article information: "Kentucky ponders privatizing bridges, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Wednesday, April 11, 2007"

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(KY, IN) East End Bridge page now on Bridges & Tunnels

The East End Bridge is projected to carry Interstate 265 on part of a new 6.5 mile, four-lane highway connecting Kentucky to Indiana. The six-lane span will feature a pedestrian walkway along a median-tower cable-stayed bridge. The bridge is part of the Ohio River Bridges Project, which is now estimated to cost $3.9 billion, a 60% increase from 2006. There have been discussions about tolling the span, which would be ideal under the "8664" proposal, and has been endorsed by U.S. Representative Yarmoth and other supporters.

Read on -- I've uploaded much information regarding the design, route selection, cost and construction to Bridges and Tunnels. Enjoy this update!

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Great Lawn overpass disputed

Waterfront agency says it must OK state design

This ought to get great :whistling:

IMO, it was foolish for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to quickly dismiss the arched span alternative for the span over the Great Lawn of Waterfront Park. That part of the viaduct is scheduled for demolition when the Spaghetti Junction is redesigned. The other designs are bland, boring concrete and steel structures with pretty much the same amount of piers. The arched span alternative appeared briefly on several media web-sites, but were ordered by the state to take them down. The Courier-Journal, of course, refused to and made it a headline on the front page :thumbsup:

The arched span would be ideal in this situation, but overall, the viaduct should be demolished.

Great Lawn overpass disputed

Notes --

1. The Waterfront Development Corp, who is overseeing Waterfront Park, has warned the state it has the legal power to approve a design for an overpass at the Great Lawn. It was not pleased with two early designs the state proposed for a wider stretch of Interstate 64 over the lawn, as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

1a. A 2004 city law created a special district for the waterfront and allows the agency to review and approve of development within the district -- including the overpass. The law stemmed from a state law allowing such districts.

1b. The 15-member board is largely appointed by Louisville's mayor and Kentucky's governor.

2. The agency prefers a span that has the least amount of impact on the Great Lawn.... like the one proposal the state rejected quickly and did not release publicly. It would require the fewest pillars and would cost more than the other two.

2a. 95% of those that voted in an online C-J poll voted for the arch design.

2b. Plans call for the widening and raising of I-64 over the Great Lawn to 40 feet -- 8 to 10 feet higher than it is now. This would improve views of the park and the Ohio River.

2c. The "concept" arch span is "too expensive to consider" and "cannot be built from an engineering standpoint."

3. KYTC disputed their claim of legal authority, stating that federal guidelines trump local planning laws. (My note: There are no federal guideline on how a bridge should be built!)

4. KYTC refused to answer questions, stating instead that the record of decision authorized the project in 2003, and that other laws supplant local laws.

4a. In response, the agency stated that KYTC needs to quote the "chapter and verse of where the federal law allows them to ride over the top of the local community and ignore state and local metro legislation."

4b. KYTC also refused to release more information regarding the project as a whole to the agency. They also denied a C-J request under the state's open-records law to review documents on the possible arch span. KYTC stated that the design plan was still in its preliminary stages.

5. Waterfront Park has been selected as one of the top 10 urban parks in the nation.

6. The $3.9 billion Ohio River Bridges Project cost will consume 18.5% of Kentucky's discretionary highway money over 24 years.

Alternatives --

1. Arched span: $160 million cost; 10 pillars on the lawn.

2. Steel 'Haunched Box' girder span: $48 million; 40 pillars on the lawn.

3. Conventional steel-box girder span: $36 million; 55 pillars (pretty much what is there now).

Article information: "Great Lawn overpass disputed, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Saturday, May 15, 2007"

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That @#[email protected] ugly bridge is finally receiving one coat of paint! :yahoo:

Bridge finally getting a fresh coat

Notes --

1. The state has tried for six years and has spent $23 million to paint the Kennedy Bridge that carries Interstate 65 over the Ohio River.

2. Intech Contracting of Lexington, Kentucky should complete the bridge painting project August 9. The project cost is $14.7 million. The contract was received last fall; the company has 50 people working the bridge on three shifts, 22 to 24 hours on most days.

2a. The work proceeded slowly thorough the spring because of cold and rainy weather.

3. The new color is beige. It was last fully painted in the late 1970s.

3a. Me: Holy crap! I know bridges that were built in 1985 that are just now receiving their first paint job after their primers started showing!

3b. The first attempt at a repaint came in 2001, when the state paid $20.7 million to two contractors. The contractors only completed part of the job; the state later had to settle a lawsuit over how the bridge should be painted. The bridge colors, which were represented on part of the span (lower-bottom segment), were three earth-tone colors that were recommended by the Waterfront Development Corp.

3c. A state bridge inspector went to prison on bribery charges in connection to that 2001 paint job.

3d. In early 2006, KYTC paid nearly $2 million to another company -- but the job fell behind schedule. Two subsequent bid openings in 2005 produced only one bid -- which was unacceptable.

3e. In order to entice more interest to contractors, KYTC split the bridge painting project in half. It was also decided that the color would be beige to save money and headaches.

3f. The entire bridge, including the portions that had already been painted, needed to be repainted.

4. The Kennedy Bridge opened in 1963 and carries 125,000 vehicles per day.

Article information: "Bridge finally getting a fresh coat, By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, May 20, 2007"

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Workers to begin tunnel for new bridge

Notes --

1. This summer, workers will begin digging through limestone and shale for the new Interstate 265 tunnel, part of the $3.9 billion Ohio River Bridges Project. The tunnel, 12 ft. by 12. ft., will connect with the main tunnel that will carry six-lanes of through traffic south of the Ohio River span. The tunnel will take slightly less than two years to dig the 1,800 ft. bore under US 42 and the Drumanard estate. Tunnel work will begin on a wooded hillside just east of where KY 265 ends at US 42; the initial tunnel will be used to test the strength of the rock and carry out other tests that will allow the officials to determine the best design of the tunnel.

2. By the fall, officials with the project hope to announce plans for the right-of-way acquisition.

3. The Drumanard estate is on the National Register of Historic Places, and was spared from the bridge's route when the FHWA announced the plan in 2003 to build the mega project. The highway will now travel under the property.

Article information: "Workers to begin tunnel for new bridge, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, June 5, 2007"

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