In a letter to U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth, D-Ky., and Todd Young, R-In., the Federal Highway Administration says it expects to approve a new environmental study for the $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, which is required for the project to move forward. The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was initiated after Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer revised the plan and introduced several measures to reduce the cost for building two new bridges across the Ohio River and reconfiguring Spaghetti Junction.
“It is very encouraging that federal approval for the Bridges Project is imminent,” Yarmuth said in a news release. “Throughout this process, I have asked for and received assurances from President Obama and U.S. Transportation Secretary (Ray) LaHood that the approval process will be expedited. With this, we now know the project is expected to be approved—bringing us another step closer to construction getting under way this year.”
Federal officials say after the expected approval the agency will also sign off on the project’s Record of Decision, concluding federal environmental review of the project. The transportation department must also approve both the SFEIS and the Record of Decision.
The FHA says it agreed to take extraordinary steps to speed up the project and work with transportation officials in both states. No specific date was given for when review will be completed, but it will be made available for public comment once it is approved.