INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 23, 2009) - Governor Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear today announced the two states have applied for federal funding for two long-sought bridge projects on the Ohio River.
Joint applications have been submitted by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) for a combined $120 million from the federal stimulus grant program known as TIGER - Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.
The applications are for:
- $95 million to replace the aged and obsolete yet critically important Milton-Madison Bridge, which connects Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind. It is the only crossing on a 72-mile stretch of the Ohio River between Louisville, Ky., and Vevay, Ind.
- $25 million to repair and renovate the Big Four Bridge, a one-time railroad bridge that would become a bicycle and pedestrian connection to the developed riverfronts in Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind.
"The burden falls to our two states to make the improvements necessary to our futures. Washington will play at most a minor role, but of course, we'll look for resources from every conceivable source to move forward with these projects,' said Daniels.
"These projects will stimulate economic growth and address critical commerce needs," said Beshear. "At the same time, they are recognition of the fact that bipartisan, regional solutions to transportation concerns are critically important to our future economic vitality. This kind of collaboration, we believe, is exactly the type of initiative that should be funded for these competitive grants."
TIGER grants were a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was enacted to generate or preserve American jobs. Each state was apportioned Recovery Act stimulus funds for transportation infrastructure. In addition, a grant pool of $1.5 billion was set aside for TIGER discretionary grants to fund projects that are expected to be completed by 2012. States and local governments can compete for the grants, as can U.S territories, tribal governments, transit agencies, port authorities and metropolitan planning organizations.
The Milton-Madison Bridge, built in 1929 and stretching six-tenths of a mile, has two traffic lanes, each 10 feet wide, and no shoulders. Originally built to accommodate farm equipment and early automobiles, it is functionally obsolete and frequently in need of repairs. One proposal for replacing it is to remove its steel superstructure and construct a replacement bridge atop the existing piers.
Superstructure replacement would cost an estimated $131 million. The TIGER grant would cover 72.5 percent of the cost. Indiana and Kentucky already are committed to equally dividing the $36 million remainder.
The Big Four Bridge - its name derived from the "Big Four" Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway - was abandoned in 1969, its approaches removed on both sides of the Ohio. But for 40 years, it has remained a prominent part of the riverscape.
In the joint application, INDOT requested $15 million to fund construction of a Jeffersonville approach - a ramp approximately 1,500 feet long that could accommodate emergency vehicles in addition to pedestrians and bicyclists, who currently share the narrow, crowded George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge with motor vehicles.
KYTC requested $10 million to fund renovation of the bridge, including repairs of the piers and structural steel, construction of a concrete bridge deck, and installation of handrails and lighting.
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