A detailed analysis of cost-saving measures for the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project says at least $1.2 billion could be trimmed off the previously estimated $4.1 billion price tag.
When proposed by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer earlier this year, officials believed the measures would save $500 million. The savings would reduce the estimated cost of the project to $2.9 billion
The price could go lower as the bi-state Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority develops a financing plan to close the funding gap and reduce the 12-year project timetable through public-private partnerships, officials said.
The Ohio River Bridges Project team — led by the Indiana and Kentucky transportation departments and the Federal Highway Administration — began working on a detailed, five-month analysis in January after cost-saving alternatives were proposed.
At that time, the states also began working on preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement in order to get federal approval for the project changes.
The project team looked at the design changes recommended by state and city leaders in greater detail, considered additional design modifications and factored in the savings, such as reduced land acquisition and professional services.
The largest savings would result from rebuilding the downtown Kennedy Interchange in place rather than moving it to the south, resulting in an $800 million decrease in cost.
A plan to eliminate flyover ramps and make other design changes on the Indiana Interstate 65 approach would trim $215 million, and reducing some roadway sections to four from six lanes would save another $174 million.
“We are committed on both sides of the river to build these bridges as quickly as we can, at the lowest cost possible,” Beshear said. “The project team’s detailed analysis showing a much higher estimated savings is great news for our citizens.”
The lower-cost alternatives will be the subject of public meetings in Indiana June 27 and in Kentucky June 28.