Kentucky will finish bridge alternative study

Aug. 26, 2008
A study covering the feasibility of a proposal calling for a street-level parkway in downtown Louisville is back on in Kentucky.

A study covering the feasibility of a proposal calling for a street-level parkway in downtown Louisville is back on in Kentucky.

The traffic analysis of the alternative to the Ohio River Bridges Project was halted earlier in the year when Wilbur Smith Associates in Lexington spotted a “fatal flaw” in the plans—there was a lack of new downtown lanes across the Ohio River for the proposed parkway. Wilbur Smith still tried to work with the alternative and pursued the idea of creating a parkway similar to Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, but incorporated it into a two-bridge project despite a call against new bridge construction.

“We find it very interesting that there is no indication in the open records request that there is a fatal flaw that caused them to change the focus,” J.C. Stites, co-founder of the advocacy group pushing for the parkway alternative, told The Courier-Journal.

Those in favor of the two-bridge project feel the completion of the original study will still show shortcomings in the parkway idea.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet does not know why the study was even authorized to begin with, and does not know who commissioned it. Transportation Secretary Joe Prather halted the study when he learned about it. The termination happened when the state legislature was debating on new ways to pay for large projects such as the Ohio River Bridges Project, which will cost $4.1 billion.

State highway engineer Gilbert Newman resigned under pressure last week amid questions about a possible conflict of interest concerning a road project in Franklin County.

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