In Conversation

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A massive project aims to breathe new life into the Sherman Minton Bridge, but several years of construction is expected to cause traffic congestion and have an economic impact.

The Sherman Minton Bridge connects Louisville and New Albany, Indiana, and it has been open to traffic since 1962. It’s estimated that around 90,000 vehicles travel across the bridge every day, and it needs repairs. A crack discovered in the bridge in 2011 shut it down for five months so crews could reinforce the structure. Officials say the Sherman Minton Renewal Project  will add up to 30 years of service life to the bridge, and will require more than $90 million in federal and state highway funds.

But repairing the bridge means closing lanes and causing traffic headaches, so the project leaders are considering different proposals before construction starts in 2021.

Some proposals would shut down some lanes of traffic. Another would completely close the bridge but shorten the time it takes to repair it. Regardless of the shortened repair time, area residents at a public hearing last week said shutting down the bridge is not an option.

“It’s going to take them a much longer time to take to even get to work. And then with the downtown businesses — with our thriving downtown businesses which would be totally cutoff from any traffic coming across the Sherman Minton Bridge, which a lot of traffic comes over to New Albany,” Spring Street Neighborhood Association President Greg Roberts said.

This week on In Conversation, we will talk about the project and the impact it will have on Louisville and Southern Indiana. Our guests include team members from the Sherman Minton Renewal Project.

Listen to In Conversation live on 89.3 WFPL Friday at 11 a.m. or follow along with our live tweets at @WFPLnews. Call with your questions or comments at 502-814-TALK or tweet us with the hashtag #WFPLconversation. We’re also on Facebook.

There’s a lot going on in Louisville, and WFPL’s “In Conversation” with Rick Howlett gives people a platform to talk — both to each other, and with the larger community — about the biggest issues facing our city, state and region. Live at 11 a.m. every Friday on 89.3 WFPL. Call 502-814-TALK to join the conversation.

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