12:30pm

Tue September 13, 2011
The Commonwealth

Commuters Cope with Closure of I-64 bridge

LOUISVILLE – Transportation and law enforcement officials from Kentucky, Indiana and local governments Tuesday worked to shepherd an extraordinary volume of detoured traffic on the second work day following closure of the Interstate 64 Sherman Minton Bridge between Louisville and New Albany, Ind. Officials used a variety of tools to keep traffic flowing including:

• Ramp and lane restrictions at critical junctions of Interstates 64, 65 and 71;
• Reversible lanes on Clark Memorial Bridge;
• Altered timing for traffic signal cycles on local streets;
• Extra police officers, traffic management crews and emergency responders; and
• Electronic message boards to inform motorists of traffic changes and restrictions.

“The key to success is cooperation of the driving public to spread out the traffic flow,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “But we will continuously monitor traffic and make adjustments as necessary.”

Many of the traffic changes were helpful in reducing the severity of the tremendous traffic impact, the result of Friday’s decision to close the Sherman Minton Bridge after inspectors discovered a crack in the bridge’s superstructure.

A centerpiece of the traffic plan is the use of reversible lanes on the Clark Memorial Bridge, providing three lanes for southbound traffic during the morning rush.

For the foreseeable future, motorists need to leave home or the workplace earlier or later than usual. They should carpool or telecommute or avoid interstate routes when possible. And above all, they should be patient, Hancock and other officials emphasized.

More traffic changes for morning rush

In addition to the previously announced changes, Indiana, Kentucky and local officials are making these changes to move traffic more effectively:

• Adjusting signal timing in downtown areas on both sides of river

• Restricting parking around 2nd and Main streets near Clark Memorial Bridge in downtown Louisville to keep traffic flowing

• On the Third Street exit ramp from I-64 westbound in Louisville, requiring motorists to turn right only onto River Road. During this restriction for morning rush, motorists can enter the downtown grid through 4th and 6th streets and

• Increasing the number of lane-dividing pylons on the Kennedy Bridge, which carries I-65, to prevent the lane-jumping that so often leads to crashes.