Governor-elect Holcomb announces name during opening ceremony
The East End Crossing opened to traffic Sunday, December 18, following an earlier opening ceremony, marking completion of the $2.3 billion Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project. Indiana Lt. Governor and Governor-elect Eric Holcomb announced the newly named Lewis and Clark Bridge by executive order of Vice President-elect Governor Mike Pence at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Indiana approach of the new bridge.
Following the ribbon cutting, Holcomb and other speakers were loaded into two Ford vehicles built at the nearby Kentucky Truck Plant in East Louisville to ceremonially cross the bridge for the first time. Project officials followed state leaders in Transit Authority of River City buses.
The long-anticipated 8½ miles of new roadway connects the eastern edge of suburban Louisville and an area just east of Jeffersonville, Ind. with its centerpiece 2,500-foot cable-stay bridge reaching across the Ohio River.
Holcomb said Indiana’s innovative public-private partnership helped take the East End Crossing from wish to reality.
“After decades of discussion and stalled progress, many people thought we’d never see this moment,” Holcomb said. “Now, communities on both sides of the Ohio River will reap the benefit of improved, safe interstate access.”
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin applauded today’s accomplishment and the joint effort needed to make it happen.
“This crowning achievement, forty years in the making, just goes to show what we can accomplish when we work together towards a common goal,” Bevin said. “Without our partners, including the state of Indiana, Walsh Construction, WVB East End Partners and an outstanding labor force, among others, the completion of this project would not have been possible. We are grateful for all who came together as an enthusiastic community to improve economic opportunity and improve mobility for everyone travelling through this region.
Rob Morphonios, WVB East End Partners project director, said the project team attracted hundreds of locals and those from other parts of the country and the world, himself included.
“Everyone brought certain skills or areas of expertise and worked together and look at what they’ve done,” Morphonios said. “The success here shows what can be achieved when you have a lot of different people, with different backgrounds, and different ideas and skills to offer. When they all work together, they can accomplish amazing things.”
Matt Walsh, chairman of the Walsh Group, credited the strength of cooperation between the state of Indiana and the construction group.
“The success of this project is the result of a shared vision from state officials, community members, and the hundreds of men and women who have worked so safely and tirelessly over the past three years,” Walsh said. “This project serves as a model for what can be accomplished in the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure.”
More than 3.3 million man-hours on this project were elapsed by Walsh Vinci Construction over the project’s three year construction.
“Southern Indiana and the Louisville area has needed this new bridge for years,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator David Kim. “By reducing congestion, the East End Crossing and its massive partner downtown will improve traffic safety, reduce traffic congestion and dramatically increase the region’s role in the nation’s freight economy.”
The 500 vehicles making up the public caravan followed state and community leaders and the KILROY chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association. These participants signed up online last week to be part of the first to drive the new road. These spots were filled in less than three minutes. Drivers arrived at a closed-off section of the newly completed Indiana 265 to be escorted by police southbound on Indiana 265 toward the Lewis and Clark Bridge.
Participants in the police-escorted caravan received antique silver commemorative medallions with an etching of the new Lewis and Clark Bridge. The medallions act as the second in a “matching set” created for the Ohio River Bridges project. The first of the commemorative set was created for the December 2015 opening of the Lincoln Bridge, a six-lane bridge carrying I-65 northbound traffic across the river from downtown Louisville to Jeffersonville.
Tolling is scheduled to begin on the new and improved I-65 Lincoln Bridge, Kennedy Bridge and the Lewis and Clark Bridge on December 30.
What Work is Left?
The opening of the East End Crossing is a major milestone for the project but work will continue through spring. Punch list items, such as grading and landscaping remain until final acceptance by the Indiana Finance Authority and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Short-term lane closures may be possible as crews put the finishing touches on the East End Crossing.
About the Project
Substantial completion of the East End Crossing will provide several significant benefits to the Louisville and Southern Indiana area – including convenient access for residents commuting between eastern Jefferson County and Southern Indiana. And for travelers passing through the Louisville area from the north or the south, the East End Crossing will be an alternate – and very accessible – route that bypasses the urban traffic of downtown Louisville.
The Kentucky approach to the new bridge extends Kentucky 841 (the Gene Snyder Freeway) from its previous termination at U.S. 42, adding a new four-lane (two northbound, two southbound) 1.4-mile section. This section includes a pair of 1,700-foot tunnels that carry Kentucky 841 traffic beneath U.S. 42 and the historic Drumanard estate. The Indiana approach, also four lanes, extends Indiana 265 (the Lee Hamilton Highway) four miles to the Ohio River from its previous termination at Indiana 62.
The bridge features two diamond towers rising 300 feet above the river, with 104 stay cables. It also includes a shared-use path over the Ohio River for pedestrians and bicyclists accessed from Old Salem Road in Indiana.
Construction of the East End Crossing commenced in June 2013. The East End Crossing is part of the $2.3 billion Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project, which also includes the construction of the Lincoln Bridge. A study commissioned by the Indiana Finance Authority estimated the project will support 15,000 new jobs over the next 30 years and generate an additional $87 billion for the regional economy.
The Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Department of Transportation contracted the design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the East End Crossing through an innovative public-private partnership with WVB East End Partners.
November 16, 2016 – The Ohio River Bridges East End Crossing (ORB‑EEC)—which will connect the east end of Louisville, KY, with Southern Indiana—recently earned an Envision Platinum Award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure for the project’s exceptional achievements in sustainable infrastructure design, construction, and operations.
The ORB‑EEC represents many Envision Award firsts, including the first project involving a highway, first river bridge, first bi-state project, and first project with a roadway tunnel to receive an Envision Award. In addition, the $763 million public‑private partnership (P3) project—Indiana’s first for construction—is the largest P3 project in North America to be third-party certified by Envision’s horizontal infrastructure sustainability rating system.
“Strong teamwork and collaboration on sustainability aspects were in evidence throughout the project,” said Ron Heustis, Project Manager, Indiana Department of Transportation. “The innovative partnership between Indiana and the Commonwealth of Kentucky ensured the project was designed to serve the needs of the entire region today, and for the future. In fact, this is a project that serves as a sustainability best practice model that can be applied to other projects throughout the country.”
The state of Indiana—in cooperation with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet—collaborated to construct the ORB-EEC between State Road 265 in Indiana and the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky, completing a loop around the east end of the Louisville metropolitan area. The project features a 2,300‑foot‑long cable‑stayed bridge with a pedestrian and bicycle path, 8 miles of new‑terrain highway, and a 1,700‑foot twin‑bore tunnel under a historic property. It is approximately half of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project—the largest bi-state transportation project ever undertaken by the two states—which also includes the Downtown Crossing connecting Downtown Louisville, KY, and Jeffersonville, IN.
Three main firms are involved in delivering the ORB‑EEC project. WVB East End Partners, the Public-Private Partnership (P3) consortium comprised of Walsh Investors, VINCI Concessions, and Bilfinger Project Investments International Holdings, is responsible for the operation, routine maintenance, and rehabilitation of a substantial portion of the East End Crossing for 35 years. Walsh-VINCI Construction is WVB East End Partners’ design-build joint venture executing the work and consists of Walsh Construction and VINCI Construction. The project, expected to take 3.5 years to construct, will be substantially complete in late 2016. Serving on the project since 1998, Parsons—as joint venture lead—is the general engineering consultant providing technical oversight services, including design review, construction management, as well as construction engineering and inspection. Parsons also assisted with the ORB-EEC P3 procurement. In addition to the Envision Platinum Award, the collaborative efforts of all team members have resulted in several awards, including the Bond Buyer 2013 Deal of the Year, ARTBA 2013 P3 Project of the Year, and nearly a dozen other awards.
Envision Awards are based on measures related to quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, as well as climate and risk. The project team’s sustainability priorities encompassed all these areas to achieve Platinum level, with the Envision Award judges giving their highest marks in three areas:
Quality of Life — By improving cross-river mobility, the EEC will stimulate the economy of the entire region, spurring business and job growth, increasing productivity, and expanding the available workforce capable of commuting efficiently to their jobs. In addition, not only will current traffic congestion in downtown Louisville be reduced, the project will expand the region’s capacity to accommodate anticipated population growth.
Leadership — Working within two states, the EEC team had to navigate differences in environmental laws and regulations, as well as transportation policies. Indiana and Kentucky quickly identified and mitigated any regulatory or policy impediments to achieving the highest levels of sustainability on the project, maintaining their spirit of cooperation for the benefit of the region.
In addition, throughout the project, hundreds of public meetings, workshops, and design sessions were held, and stakeholder groups were formed to provide public input into the design, construction, and operation of the EEC. Key outcomes of these meetings included measures to preserve historical properties and incorporate aesthetics design elements that align with the area’s history, including decorative fencing, lighting, and pedestrian railings.
Climate and Risk — The EEC design included a minimum vertical alignment for the corridor to account for a 100-year flood event for the retaining walls and highway bridges, and a 500-year flood event for the tunnel, roadway, and cable-stayed bridge. To address possible fires and earthquakes, a tunnel emergency response plan was implemented in cooperation with several local and state agencies, and the tunnel design exceeded seismic regulatory requirements.
Find more information about the ORB-EEC project at www.eastendcrossing.com.
Several members of the East End Crossing project team biked to work in late July 2015 for a more healthy, sustainable and economic mode of transportation.
This is the third time a group of the project team gathered to bike to work since the beginning of the project. One group biked 6.5 miles in Indiana from the Big Four Bridge to the project headquarters. The other group biked 8.2 miles from the Big Four Bridge to the offices in Kentucky on River Road.
June 30, 2015 – The East End Crossing project team hosted two groups of engineering students and faculty from Clarksville, Jeffersonville and New Washington High Schools on field trips last month. The field trips consisted of presentations of the East End Crossing at the project headquarters, followed by construction site visits in southern Indiana.
Students who were in attendance showed a strong interest in the project and said that they hope to have careers in the engineering industry one day.
June 25, 2015 – Members of the East End Crossing project team participated in the 26th annual Ohio River Sweep with their family and friends to clean the riverbanks of the Ohio River at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.
The project team picked-up and disposed of mainly food containers and plastic bottles.
May 21, 2015 – Several members of the East End Crossing project team participated in Louisville’s annual Bike to Work day on May 15, 2015. This is the second year that the East End Crossing team has been involved in this event.
One team biked over six miles starting at the Big Four Bridge and ending at the East End Crossing project headquarters in Jeffersonville. A second team of biked over eight miles to reach their project offices in Kentucky.
In April 2015, the East End Crossing was recognized by Mid-America OSHA Training Institute because of the implementation of the project’s safety program and how it has surpassed expectations. The Mid-America OSHA Education Center provided to Walsh-Vinci Construction (WVC) an award of recognition for going above and beyond in safety. The award was for the training of 11 members of the project team to be official OSHA 10 and 30-hour trainers in the construction industry. In fact, the project was one of the first projects in the United States to hold an OSHA 500 course on-site as a part of the partnership with the OSHA training institute. The majority of the students were members of the WVC safety and management teams.
The OHSA 10 and 30-hour courses are an integral part of the site safety program for anyone involved in construction activities. The programs train workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, prevention of safety and health hazards in construction and the basics of occupational safety and health.
The OSHA 10-hour course provides an entry level construction worker’s general awareness on recognizing and preventing hazards on a construction site. The OSHA 30-hour course is a comprehensive safety program designed for anyone involved in the construction industry. It’s specifically devised for project management, engineers, superintendents, foremen, and field supervisors; the program provides complete information on OSHA compliance issues.
May 4, 2015 – Throughout March 2015, the East End Crossing project team held a “Madness Food Drive” to collect nonperishable items for Dare to Care, which is the leading nonprofit social service agency addressing hunger needs in Kentuckiana.
Collection boxes were placed in project offices and trailers and represented popular basketball teams in Kentucky and Indiana. A project team member even created an additional box for Illinois University.
The “Madness Food Drive” was held in part of the Sustainability Action Plan of the East End Crossing, which encourages project team members to help with social, economic and environmental issues in Kentuckiana.
March 30, 2015 – Several members of the East End Crossing project team participated in the Love Louisville Trees restoration project this past Saturday, March 28. The project team members joined over 100 other volunteers to plant trees in the Shawnee neighborhood in west Louisville. To ensure the planted trees will be maintained properly, summer inspections have been planned.
Their participation was in effort to reforest the city and reach a tree coverage goal of 45 percent. The current tree canopy coverage in Louisville, including thousands of acres of greens spaces and parks, is 37 percent.
Love Louisville Trees is a program of Louisville Grows, a local non-profit with the mission to grow a just and sustainable community through urban agriculture, urban forestry, and environmental education. Their services include engaging and training the public in proper tree planting and maintenance to build and support a vibrant urban forest in Louisville, Ky.
March 13, 2015 – Members of the Ohio River Bridges project team partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help construct two homes in the area this past February. Among the volunteer team were workers from the Downtown Crossing and East End Crossing.
The group of volunteers met early in the morning in the south of Louisville, well equipped to fight the temperatures that day, which remained around 15 degrees. Habitat for Humanity representatives explained what they expected from the team and how each person could find their place to work to succeed in building the homes. The duties of the workers included hammering, sawing, moving wood floor panels, completing a 1000-square-foot floor deck and installation of thermal insulation and a 140-foot drainage system.
This day of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity allowed the project team to help families in the community and put their skills to work in another context than the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Pictured from left to right: Becky Halman, Sarah Falin, Sean Ashburn, Greg Cowan, Eddie Shickel, Tom Zidron, Alex Byers, Coty Young, Joe Meyn, Matt Cullen, Keith Lord, Paul Rodriguez, Dan Brown, Tomasz Korolczuk, Dan Kleinhenz & Martin Roussel<br />
On the foreground: Jonathan Klemm, Anaëlle Buysse & Albane Hagnéré