Lewis and Clark Bridge Opens East End Crossing in Louisville - Louisville Article

Lewis and Clark Bridge Opens East End Crossing in Louisville 

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Lewis and Clark Bridge Opens East End Crossing in Louisville

Published Dec 18, 2016
Updated Aug 3, 2017

After years of planning and construction, the $763 million “East End Crossing” of the Ohio River, now renamed the Lewis and Clark bridge, finally opened Dec. 18 when the first 500 vehicles crossed the bridge. It will connect Louisville near Prospect to southern Indiana near Utica and officials say the major infrastructure project will also ease traffic congestion and make driving less stressful for motorists throughout southern Indiana and the greater Louisville Metro Area.

Indiana Gov. and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence gave the new bridge its official name at a dedication ceremony, where he talked about the importance of Kentucky and Indiana’s shared historical roles in the epic journeys of both Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who is one of many famous Louisville residents, both past, present and future.

“Naming this bridge the Lewis and Clark Bridge speaks to the shared prosperity between Indiana and Kentucky, just as Lewis and Clark together charted a course that would put the United States of America on a path to greatness,” stated Pence in a statement. “As the crossroads of America and the Bluegrass State continue to play a shared role in our national economy as models of industry and commerce, the Lewis and Clark Bridge will allow for us to grow, build, create and move products together and power our economies for years to come.”

Now fully open to motorists, the first 500 vehicles to cross the bridge belonged to volunteers who had pre-registered online to take part in the ceremony. Officials revealed that the spots were filled in a matter of just minutes and the vehicles were escorted across the bridge by law enforcement from the southern Indiana side to the Louisville side of the Ohio.

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, the lucky participants in the inaugural caravan received a commemorative antique-style silver medallion engraved with an etching of the bridge for their efforts. The medallions are the second part of a set that was designed to represent the Ohio Bridges Project and also includes a medallion that represents the Lincoln Bridge, which carries northbound I-65 across the river to connect Louisville with Jeffersonville Indiana.

Construction officially began on the project in 2013 on the 2,500-foot cable-stay bridge also includes 8.5 miles of new road and a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. Dan Hartlage, a spokesman for WBV East End Partners, told WLKY the bridge’s key role will be to prevent motorists from having to drive all the way downtown in order to reach Indiana if they’re on the eastern side of Louisville in Jefferson County.

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