Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez and a host of other officials broke ground on the first construction phase of the US$2.6bn (£1.65bn) project – a 0.9km extension of Old Salem Road.
When the East End Crossing opens to traffic in 2017, Old Salem Road will be the first exit on the Indiana side of the river. Gohmann Asphalt and Construction was awarded a US$3.2m design/build contract earlier this month for this first stage.
By year’s end, both Indiana and Kentucky are expected to select contracting teams that will build each state’s portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. Construction on both bridges is slated to begin in 2013. The East End Crossing is expected to open in 2017 and the Downtown Crossing in 2018.
"Decades of waiting for greater convenience and quality of life in the metro area will soon be over, but that’s only part of what’s ahead: Southern Indiana has tremendous economic prospects, and these new bridges are the key to making them real,” said Daniels.
“We have reached this milestone because we worked together – across state lines and party lines and bottom lines – to do the right thing for the citizens of Kentucky and Indiana,” said Beshear. “As a result, we will keep the traffic flowing and our region growing with new jobs, new businesses and new opportunities.”