Now that the 60-foot-tall elliptical spiraling ramp up to the top of the Big Four Bridge in Waterfront Park has been completed for some time, officials are ready to begin work on the next phase of the bike and pedestrian bridge conversion.
While the Southern Indiana approach must still be built, work is about to begin on installing a concrete deck on top of the 1890s-era bridge. Work involves clearing the existing rotting wood deck, installing two I-beams across the length of the bridge, and pouring a concrete deck on top. It may not be fancy, but it will get you across the river.
While it won’t contain crazy 1960s condos or equally crazy modern sculpture, and it’s not looking good for a happy birthday pavilion underneath the ramp (and while the bridge will not be the longest in the country as officials are wont to claim), the bridge will offer a vitally needed pedestrian and bike link between Louisville and Southern Indiana. Currently, the only option for biking or walking across the Ohio River involves using the Clark Memorial/2nd Street Bridge with the speeding traffic that frequents it.
“This connection between our two communities will be an invaluable amenity for the whole region and will be a springboard for even more improvements in downtown Jeffersonville,” said Tom Galligan, Mayor of Jeffersonville, in a statement.
A total of $22 million has been committed for completing the project from Kentucky, Indiana, and Jeffersonville, including $12 million for replacing the deck contributed from Kentucky.
With the popularity of New York’s High Line park and similar projects proposed across the country, anyone have any ideas on creating a truly unique space on top of the bridge that could fit with the work already planned?