LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Work on the new Downtown Crossing will move into another phase the weekend of May 10 with major lane changes to Interstate 65.
Widening work on the Downtown Crossing has been concentrated along the outside lane of I-65 South in the area between the Kennedy Bridge and the Jefferson Street, Brook Street exit. Now that work in that area is nearing completion crews will soon move to the next phase, the area between I-65 North and I-65 South.
The move means traffic will be shifted to the outside lanes of the work zone to ensure safety of drivers and workers. The result: I-65 will be reduced to two through lanes in each direction from Witherspoon Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
At the new Wild Eggs location downtown on the corner of Floyd and Market Streets they aren't letting a few orange cones get in the way of serving their orange juice.
"When you can turn an inconvenience into a positive that's always wonderful," said service manager Aaron Lorence.
Constant construction has seemed to work in their favor.
"People will be like 'We didn't even know you were here, but we were stopped in traffic the other day and here you all were,'" Lorence said.
It's a good thing because the Ohio River Bridges Project is just getting started about to enter a phase that will impact all those who use I-65 around downtown.
"We know the daily commute is changing now for many drivers in the area," said Mindy Peterson, with the Ohio River Bridges Project.
The Ohio River Bridges Downtown Crossing released the following changes and dates:
I-65 North Lane Reduction:
I-65 North, from Muhammad Ali Boulevard to Witherspoon Street, will be reduced from three through lanes to two. The change is expected to begin Sunday, May 11 and remain in place into 2015.
The left lane of I-65 North is closing to allow crews to work safely between the I-65 South and I-65 Northbound lanes, building new lanes for I-65 South.
Jefferson Street Ramp Changes:
The exit ramp from I-65 South to Jefferson Street is expected to be reduced to one lane Wednesday, May 14 to Friday, May 16. Drivers will be able to access both Jefferson Street and Brook Street during the three-day lane reduction.
The ramp is scheduled to close that weekend, closing the night of Friday, May 16. The ramp will be open by 5 a.m. Monday, May 19.
The lane restriction and closure will allow crews to complete striping and other necessary work in preparation for an upcoming traffic switch on I-65 South.
I-65 South Traffic Switch:
I-65 South traffic will be moving to newly constructed roadway, from Witherspoon Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The roadway is the new I-65 South collector-distributor, which runs parallel to I-65 South. When the overall project is complete, the collector-distributor will allow traffic to smoothly enter and exit I-65 South.
The I-65 South traffic switch is expected to happen in early June and remain in place into 2015. Traffic will be reduced from three through lanes to two through lanes from Witherspoon Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
In combination with the lane restriction on I-65 North, moving traffic to the newly constructed roadway will allow crews to work between I-65 South and I-65 North to build new mainline lanes for I-65 South.
"Anytime you take away capacity, you are going to cause some backups and that's what we are doing we know that," said Peterson. "There is no choice though, we have to have that space to work and to work safety."
The Downtown Crossing includes building a new I-65 bridge for northbound only traffic, revamping the Kennedy Bridge to carry southbound I-65 traffic and rebuilding interchange approaches on both sides of the river. The project is scheduled for completion in December 2016. It is expected to open to moving traffic in April 2016.
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