In a project that officials say will further unite the region, the governors of Kentucky and Indiana announced that along with the city of Jeffersonville, the two states will allocate $22 million to complete the Big Four Bridge pedestrian and bicycle pathway to link Louisville and Southern Indiana.
The agreement will turn the unused and rusting span into a new bridge that will connect Louisville’s Waterfront Park to downtown Jeffersonville. The historic bridge was built for railroad traffic in 1895, but has been closed with its approaches removed since 1969.
Under the agreement signed by both states, Kentucky is pledging $12 million to replace the deck on the bridge and connect it to the spiral ramp that has been completed in Waterfront Park.
On the other side of the river, Indiana will spend up to $8 million and Jeffersonville will provide $2 million in matching dollars to pay for construction its ramp to the Big Four Bridge.
“I am grateful to both states and particularly (Indiana) Gov. (Mithc) Daniels because Jeffersonville could not have done this on its own,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan in a news release. “This is a big day for citizens on both sides of the river.”
While Jeffersonville is finalizing an environmental review of their proposed ramp, officials say the construction is set to begin this spring meaning the new pathway could be open to pedestrians and cyclists in early 2013.
“The governors of Kentucky and Indiana are working together to make great things happen for Louisville and Southern Indiana,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “The Big Four will not only link both sides of the Ohio River, it helps bridge our communities together. We are one city, one community and one family, as I said in my inaugural address. Let me add a fourth element: We are one region. This project is proof of that.”