Federal, state and local officials broke ground on the $3.2 million-first construction phase of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project, which will dramatically improve the Kennedy Interchange in downtown Louisville, Ky.

The Bridges Project involves construction of new bridges across the Ohio River between downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind.
The new Downtown Bridge is shown in the middle adjacent to the Kennedy Bridge.
The new Downtown Bridge is shown in the middle adjacent to the Kennedy Bridge.
, and between Prospect, Ky., and Utica, Ind. In addition, the project will dramatically improve the Kennedy Interchange where Interstates 64, 65 and 71 meet in downtown Louisville and the existing Kennedy Bridge that carries I-65 traffic.

The first phase is a 3,000-foot extension of Old Salem Road.

When the East End Crossing opens to traffic in 2017, Old Salem Road will be the first exit on the Indiana side of the river, providing improved access to the River Ridge Commerce Center and the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville.

Gohmann Asphalt and Construction Inc. of Clarksville, Ind., was awarded a $3.2 million design/build contract earlier this month and has already begun performing final road and bridge design. Construction begins this fall with the Old Salem Road extension scheduled to open in June of 2013.

Each state is responsible for procuring and overseeing construction of a portion of the $2.6 billion project. Indiana is responsible for the East End Crossing and Kentucky is responsible for the Downtown Crossing.

By year's end, both Indiana and Kentucky are expected to select contracting teams that will build each state's portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. Construction on both bridges is slated to begin in 2013. The East End Crossing is expected to open in 2017 and the Downtown Crossing in 2018.

For more information: www.kyinbridges.com