Until Friday, there were only three bridges crossing it to handle that traffic. The Clark Memorial, which is a four lane bridge almost century old bridge takes traffic into downtown Louisville, the John F. Kennedy, which takes I-65 over the Ohio not far from the Clark, and the Sherman Minton, which takes I-64 over the Ohio and into Indiana near New Albany, IN. .
There is the I-265 East End one that has been talked about for decades, was finally in the design phase while I was living there and would connect the Kentucky and Indiana sides of that loop interstate. It is still in the contentious planning stages because it has been mired in lawsuits by River Fields homeowners on the Kentucky side of it with a severe case of NIMBY syndrome.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) who has famously said his number one goal this session was to make 'Barack Obama a one-term president' and opposes the American Jobs Bill that the POTUS proposed Monday to work on infrastructure problems has a major infrastructure problem in his backyard.
On Friday the Sherman Minton Bridge was closed indefinitely by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels (R) because of a critical crack found in a major support beam on the double decker bridge that carries 80,000 vehicles per day between New Albany, IN and the west side of Louisville.
It's an interstate bridge, but due to a longstanding agreement between the two states Indiana has responsibility for the Sherman Minton maintenance while the John F. Kennedy Bridge is Kentucky's responsibility.
“Because the safety of the thousands of people who use the I-64 bridge is of utmost concern, Governor Daniels notified me today of his decision to temporarily shut down the Sherman Minton until the structure can be inspected more fully,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D) according to the Examiner..
The Sherman Minton Bridge was built in 1962 at a original cost of $14.8 million and is named for Supreme Court justice (1949-1956) and long-time New Albany resident Sherman Minton. The bridge has the negative combination of being built with a tiered.arch design that makes it more susceptible to failure and a type of T1 steel that was popular with bridge building projects in the 1960's that is less resistant to cracking.
The closure means there are only two bridges left mere yards from each other in Downtown Louisville to take cross river traffic across the Ohio with the escalating traffic headaches and ripple effects of its closure affecting the lives of people on both sides of the Kentuckiana region.
With the increased traffic traversing it, the Kennedy bridge is also a concern of people who live in the area since it contains the same T1 steel that the Sherman Minton was built with.
It also has political ramifications on the Kentuckiana area's congressional representatives and senators who are predominately Republicans with the exception of Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) who has been at the forefront of efforts to get the East Ebd bridge expeditiously built.
So is Sen. Mitch McConnell and the Republican reps going to continue their partisan political opposition of the American Jobs Bill when he has a critical bridge in his political backyard that will take anywhere from three months to two years to repair or replace?
Stay tuned, this it going to be interesting to see how this situation plays plays out in the Kentuckiana area's politics as tempers from constituents on both sides of the Ohio grow shorter as the commutes get longer.