Papaw Came To Town For Our New Bridges

And here’s the press release from Beshear’s office about it:

Motorists will be driving on Louisville’s new Downtown bridge within a year – at least three months ahead of schedule, Gov. Steve Beshear announced today.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is accelerating construction of the bridge, part of the Downtown Crossing of the Ohio River Bridges Project, to allow for more extensive improvements that will extend the life of the 51-year-old John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge.

“Just over a year and a half ago, we gathered at this spot to break ground on the Downtown Crossing,” Gov. Beshear said. “Since then, we’ve watched the towers rise out of the river and the much-needed Downtown bridge begin to take shape. Today’s announcement means progress will be coming at an even faster pace.”

Under the accelerated schedule, the Downtown bridge is expected to open in January 2016. At that time, it will carry both northbound and southbound I-65 traffic.

When the new bridge opens to traffic, the Kennedy Bridge will close to allow Walsh Construction to build a new floor system. The improvements should eliminate the need for major repairs and traffic disruptions on the Kennedy Bridge for decades.

The $22 million cost for the expanded work and accelerated schedule is already in the project budget. The money will come from a contingency account designed to cover unanticipated changes or needs in the project.

“This is a smart, long-term investment that will benefit drivers and taxpayers for decades to come,” Gov. Beshear said. “They will be getting two interstate bridges downtown – a brand new one and a like-new Kennedy Bridge.”

A new floor system will be built on top of existing floor beams, with new stringers and bearings for the length of the Kennedy Bridge. The original plan called for redecking the Kennedy Bridge, with limited steel repairs. KYTC officials determined additional work would be needed after a thorough inspection last year.

“The significant improvements will make the best use of the time the Kennedy Bridge will be under construction and greatly add to the life of the bridge,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Project Manager Andy Barber. “It’s a smart use of our time and our contingency dollars. Drivers will see the benefits of the investment for decades to come.”

Impact on Traffic
Both directions of I-65 traffic will be moved to the new Downtown bridge. I-65 southbound motorists heading to I-64 and I-71 will require alternate routes.

Nearly 28,000 drivers use I-65 South to access I-64 and I-71 on a daily basis, about 12 percent of the nearly 225,000 vehicles that travel across the Ohio River between Louisville and Southern Indiana each day.

Tolling
Motorists will test drive the new bridge for free throughout much of 2016. Tolls won’t be charged until the end of 2016 when new capacity is added for drivers. The other half of the Ohio River Bridges Project — an East End Crossing connecting the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky and State Road 265 in Southern Indiana – is on schedule to open to traffic in October 2016.

Timeline
Under the accelerated schedule, the new Downtown bridge is expected to open to traffic in January 2016, with all but one lane of the Kennedy Bridge closing to make the improvements. That lane will allow temporary access from the Kennedy to I-64 and I-71. The full closure of the Kennedy Bridge is expected to follow in approximately one month and last about six months.

One lane of the Kennedy Bridge is scheduled to reopen in August 2016, restoring access from I-65 South to I-64 East and I-71 North. Access to I-64 West is expected to soon follow. The remaining lanes of the Kennedy Bridge will be closed until late 2016.

The accelerated schedule for the Downtown bridge and the additional work on the Kennedy Bridge will not impact the overall timeline for the project. The Downtown Crossing – the new bridge, an improved Kennedy Bridge and interstate connections – will be open by December 2016.

Let’s hope were not counting our chickens before the two (as in two bridges) billion dollar eggs hatch.

These Folks Want To Join The Metro Council

Wanna review the resumes of the 13 applicants clamoring to replace Jim King?

Here are the 10th District folks — click each name to access a PDF:

  1. Liz Martin
  2. Michael Meeks
  3. Rich Gimmel
  4. Albert Tronzo
  5. Bruce Brightwell
  6. Patrick Mulvihill
  7. Peter Hayes
  8. Joseph Greer
  9. Herman Harris
  10. Nicholas Clark
  11. Ellie Garcia Kerstetter
  12. Jon Heck
  13. Steve Magre

Who’ll walk away with it? Gimmel? Magre?

Frankfort Democrats May Just Be The Worst

By a unanimous vote, Councilman David Tandy (D-4) was elected President of the Louisville Metro Council for the remainder of 2015 during the Council’s regular meeting on Thursday night. Maybe he’ll visit Cordish again and sign a non-disclosure agreement, refusing to reveal what he discovers to the public. Or maybe he’ll use his council staff as a babysitter again. So many opportunities. [Press Release]

Students, staff and alumni at Fern Creek Traditional High School are seeking to rename the school Fern Creek High School. [WDRB]

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway on Tuesday delivered a blow to Metropolitan Sewer District management, providing an opinion that there’s no legal reason why the agency’s board could not agree to a contract provision requested by one of its unions. [C-J/AKN]

The Kentucky Attorney General’s office has joined in the criminal investigation into the troubled Southeast Bullitt Fire Department. [WHAS11]

Food prices across Kentucky continue to rise, increasing 1. 7 percent in the last quarter of 2014. According the Kentucky Farm Bureau Marketbasket Survey, the cost of 40 basic grocery items averaged $129.14 in the last quarter. It’s the seventh consecutive quarter of rising prices and represents an all-time high. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! A doctor who practiced in Louisville and southern Indiana was charged Wednesday by a federal grand jury with prescribing pain medications that resulted in the deaths of five patients, health care fraud and unlawful distribution or dispensing of controlled substances. [WLKY]

A bill that would redefine a full-time work week under the Affordable Care Act as 40 hours instead of 30 actually amounts to a break for corporations, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) argued in a hearing Thursday. [HuffPo]

The era of prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays in Indiana might be over soon. [WAVE3]

Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, the new state House majority whip, informed his predecessor’s staff Wednesday that they would be replaced – including Yolanda Costner, one of the women suing the legislature over allegations of sexual harassment by former Rep. John Arnold. [Ronnie Ellis]

A majority of Kentuckians think that the state’s domestic violence laws should include unmarried couples who haven’t live together and those who don’t share a child, according to a poll released Thursday. [WFPL]

Prompted by an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley asks a Missouri nonprofit hospital to explain why it seizes the wages of thousands of its patients. [ProPublica]

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Tuesday that Louisville’s Office of Sustainability has launched a “green” infrastructure incentive program for businesses. [Business First]

Mayor Jeff Gahan has requested Time Warner Cable pursue strategies for Gigabit connections on a trial basis for some areas of New Albany. The city has been exploring a permanent Gigabit connection to provide high-speed Internet options for customers in New Albany. In a press release issued Friday, the city announced the trial areas will include downtown, the Purdue Research Park and Indiana University Southeast. [News & Tribune]

Reducing Violence In Possibility City Is Great

Reducing violent deaths in Louisville is the goal of a new campaign, which is focusing on what everyone can do to support the effort. [WDRB]

New Louisville hotels are among the short-term threats to growing Southern Indiana tourism, according to a new marketing report that also lists strengths, weaknesses and possible opportunities in Clark and Floyd Counties. [C-J/AKN]

A Metro Council employee, charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct will have to wait a few weeks before getting her day in court. [WHAS11]

One of the state’s biggest bigots opposes medical marijuana. Because, like all other things he’s afraid of, he doesn’t understand it. The leader of the state’s largest religious organization voiced opposition Tuesday to a proposal in the state legislature that would make it legal for people to use marijuana in Kentucky for medical purposes. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! The board overseeing Kentucky’s role in the Ohio River Bridges Project met Tuesday. [WLKY]

Whaaaat??? Thought Greg Fischer said Louisville was the best beer city in the world? [HuffPo]

Mayor Greg Fischer said he was evaluating the “steps forward” after his chief financial officer was accused of drunk and intimate behavior with a subordinate’s wife. [WAVE3]

The US solar boom is taking off at breathtaking speed—even though solar is still a tiny slice of the American energy pie, it has by far the fastest growth of any energy source, and it’s adding jobs apace. [Mother Jones]

In the wake of a massive tire fire in November that burned for a day and left residents in southwestern Louisville under a shelter-in-place, the company responsible is beginning a series of steps to assess the environmental damage. [WFPL]

Plenty of cities tear them down, but Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) wants his city to build three new tent encampments for the homeless. [Think Progress]

Mid City Mall will be receiving an updated exterior with new metal awnings, a metal roof and a brick facade. [Business First]

A familiar disagreement between some members of the New Albany City Council and the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County has a new twist. [News & Tribune]

Everybody Is Really Mad At Lynn Winter Again

A former Jefferson County Public Schools bus driver is facing charges after police say she allowed two students to engage in sexual relations in the seat behind her while she was driving. [WDRB]

Two Democrats — one in the Senate and one in the House — have introduced bills that would allow the use of medical marijuana in Indiana. [C-J/AKN]

Mayor Fischer’s son is expected back in court to face drug charges. [WHAS11]

Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes is running for statewide office, but which one? [H-L]

A Louisville woman sentenced to 15 years in a murder for hire plot is expected at a shock probation hearing to ask a judge to release her from prison early. [WLKY]

A construction worker was killed and a tractor-trailer driver injured when an interstate overpass undergoing demolition collapsed in Cincinnati, fire and emergency medical officials said. [HuffPo]

For the first time residents of a Louisville neighborhood are coming out against a former restaurant owner. Surely no one expected her to do the right thing for the community after she took advantage of her employees and then shut down rather than do the right thing. [WAVE3]

The effort by LG&E to charge solar and renewables users out the rear? It’s part of a national right-wing effort to screw people. [Think Progress]

Fresh pavement, sidewalks and a 12-foot-wide, two-lane bicycle track are in the works for a stretch of Lexington Road, city officials said. The Lexington Road Corridor Transportation Plan has been in development since mid-2014 and will lead to changes on the road spanning from Grinstead to Baxter Avenue. [WFPL]

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage are sponsoring an exhibit of the commission poster series, the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians. The exhibit will be on display in honor of the National Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and the national February Black History Month. The commission will display 55 posters in the series. [Ashland Independent]

Neighbors of Lynn’s Paradise Cafe are coming out against the former restaurant’s owner. [Business First]

A pre-Civil War era home sitting in a brand new downtown park could one day have a new use, but city officials have a few hurdles to clear first. [News & Tribune]

NOW MSD Union Folks Are Upset With Everyone

Is this a case of you get what you vote for?

Here’s a press release from the United Food and Commercial Workers 227:

LABOR LEADERS MOBILIZE TO SUPPORT MSD WORKERS

Unions unite in solidarity with Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) Workers of MSD

LOUISVILLE, KY – In a show of solidarity and unity Louisville labor leaders gathered at 10am today in front of MSD offices located at 700 West Liberty Street. Leaders called on MSD Board members to reinstate recognition of Laborers Local Union 576 as the union of MSD workers and return to the bargaining table.

MSD Board members recently made a unilateral decision to cease recognizing the union after lengthy negotiations dating back to 2013. In 2012, 99% of workers at the Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) of MSD voted in a democratic election to be represented by Laborers 576.

Negotiations stalled over a “binding arbitration” clause that would allow workers to fairly enforce the other parts of the collective bargaining agreement. Binding arbitration, a conflict resolution best practice, allows a neutral third party to hear both sides of an argument and settle a dispute.

The MSD Board has rejected the binding arbitration clause, but has yet to sit down face to face with union officials to work through their concerns. All communication has been through MSD intermediaries.

###

The very folks who helped put Greg Fischer in his current job.

The very people who have foamed at the mouth any time Fischer and crew have been questioned.

Now upset because Fischer and his crew are giving them the shaft.