Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka recently announced $5.2 million in new grants to move forward the Ohio River Bridges at an event to kick off a ramp relocation, part of the preliminary work necessary for the project to begin.
"Today marks a significant first step toward a project that will relieve big city congestion, improve freight and help the Louisville and southern Indiana economies," Capka said. "The grants secured for the Ohio River Bridges project by Congresswoman Anne Northup and Congressman Mike Sodrel keep this nationally important project on track."
The new grants can be used on any aspect of the project, including the environmental process, design and construction, according to Capka.
The off-ramp from the Gene Snyder Freeway, KY 841, will be moved west of its current location to run parallel with the existing on-ramp at US 42. The ramp realignment will allow engineers to explore the design for a six-lane, 2,000-ft tunnel that will eventually carry traffic to and from the east end bridge of the Ohio River Bridges project.
"The Ohio River Bridges project fits into a national plan to relieve congestion," Capka said. Consumers lose 3.7 billion hours and waste 2.3 billion gallons of fuel sitting in traffic jams. Capka noted that with these facts in mind, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta rolled out the Bush Administration's new national strategy to reduce America's congestion a few weeks ago. Focusing on metropolitan areas, the plan gives federal, state and local officials a clear strategy to cut traffic jams and relieve freight bottlenecks.
The Ohio River Bridges project will improve congestion, safety and mobility at a major mid-America crossroads of three interstates, I-65, I-64 and I-71. I-65 is a major north-south freight corridor between Mobile, Alabama and Chicago, currently carries more than 140,000 vehicles per day.