The connection between west Louisville and New Albany is going to get a $90 million makeover as part of a project called the Sherman Minton Renewal, and the public has two chances this week to provide input.
Area residents can get a sneak preview in a pair of public meetings, beginning Tuesday evening at the Chestnut Street Family YMCA, 930 W. Chestnut St., from 5:30-7 p.m., according to an announcement.
Attendees will be able to learn about options for traffic management during construction, talk one-on-one with members of the project team and offer their comments.
A second public meeting will be held on Thursday, July 25, at The Calumet Club, 1614 E. Spring St. in New Albany, also from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Currently used by an average of 90,000 drivers each day, transportation officials said the bridge will soon be getting an upgrade in the form of replaced or refurbished bridge decks, steel cables and other steel elements, new lighting and drainage repairs, in addition to a full paint job.
The construction upgrades are estimated to cost $65 million, with the painting adding another $25 million. The Sherman Minton Renewal was announced last fall.
Construction would ideally begin in early 2021, officials said, with many phases still remaining, from getting public input, which is the current phase, to gaining federal approval and selecting a contractor to do the work. The project would take an estimated three years to complete, according to transportation officials.
The goal is to extend the life of the bridge by another 30 years, they said.
Some work already has been done to the shoulders on the bridge, which began in late May and continued through June. When construction begins, delays will be likely, although final decisions on how the construction will be handled won’t be made until after the public review process is complete.
The project will be funded through federal and state – both Kentucky and Indiana – highway funds. There are no plans to convert the Sherman Minton to a toll bridge.
According to a requirement by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Indiana Department of Transportation has initiated an environmental study for the project. The study will involve a full analysis of the social, economic and environmental impacts along with ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate those impacts.
The bridge is well over half a century old, having opened in 1962 after a three-year construction process. It remains one of only a handful of two-level bridges designed with twin arches, along with the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati and the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan.