The purpose of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project is to increase cross-river mobility by improving safety, alleviating traffic congestion and connecting highways. The project will stimulate the economy of the entire Louisville-Southern Indiana region. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s Record of Decision, to meet these needs two crossings were necessary – one in the downtown area and one eight miles upstream in the metro area’s growing East End.
The Lewis and Clark bridge connects the east end of Louisville, near Prospect, to southern Indiana, near Utica. The Kentucky approach to the new bridge extends I-265 (the Gene Snyder Freeway, also known as KY 841), adding a new, four-lane (two northbound, two southbound) 1.4-mile section. The Indiana approach also has a four-lane section that extends SR 265 (the Lee Hamilton Highway) four miles.
The Lewis and Clark bridge provides several very specific benefits to the Louisville and Southern Indiana area, including convenient access for area residents commuting between eastern Jefferson County and southern Indiana. And for travelers passing through the Louisville area from the north or south, the East End Crossing is an alternate (and very accessible) route that bypasses the urban traffic of downtown Louisville.
The new section of the Gene Snyder in Kentucky includes:
- A tunnel extending 1,700 feet under U.S. 42 and the historic Drumanard Estate.
- A redesigned partial interchange at U.S. 42 that retains the current access allowing northbound Gene Snyder traffic to exit onto U.S. 42.
- A new traffic signal at the end of the ramp from northbound Gene Snyder at U.S. 42, synchronized with the signal at the adjacent intersection of U.S. 42 and Wolf Pen Branch Road.
- A multi-use pathway near the Ohio River.
The new section of SR 265 in Indiana includes:
- The addition of a new, full interchange at Old Salem Road.
- Reconstruction of the SR 265/SR 62 interchange.
- Updates to Utica-Sellersburg Road near the new section of SR 265.
Initial construction activity began in spring 2013, following the Indiana Finance Authority’s selection of WVB East End Partners to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the East End Crossing. The project was overseen by the Indiana Department of Transportation, and opened to traffic in December of 2016.