East End Crossing opens to traffic,
tolls in December
Officials from Indiana, Kentucky join others
in celebratory event
PROSPECT, Ky. – The East End Crossing portion of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project opened to traffic Sunday, Dec. 18, following an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony with project officials and a public caravan across the new bridge.
Tolling on the new East End bridge, as well as the downtown Kennedy and Lincoln Bridges in Louisville, began on Dec. 30.
The long-anticipated 8½ miles of new road of the East End Crossing connects the eastern edge of suburban Louisville and an area just east of Jeffersonville, Ind., with its centerpiece 2,500-foot cable-stay bridge reaching across the Ohio River.
Because of a lack of public parking and limited accessibility to the area, space at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was limited to project champions and officials who could be bused onto the site.
However, residents interested in being among the first to drive across the bridge were allowed to register online to participate in the police-escorted caravan that occurred at the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting. The first 500 registrants were instructed to arrive at a closed-off section of the newly completed Indiana 265 between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. As the ribbon-cutting ended, the 500 vehicles were escorted by police southbound on Indiana 265 toward the new bridge. The police then led the drivers across the bridge and into Kentucky.
Several hours after this ceremonial caravan crossing, the East End
The East End Crossing connects Prospect, Ky., with Utica, Ind., and is expected to have a significant economic impact to the region in the coming years.
Crossing opened to the general public.
For businesses with more than four vehicles, the fastest and easiest way to open an account is by calling a specialized customer service representative at 855-RIV-LINK.
Participants in the police-escorted caravan received antique silver commemorative medallions with an etching of the new east end Ohio River bridge. The medallions will serve as the second in a “matching set” created for the Ohio River Bridges project. The first of the commemorative set was created for the December 2015 opening of the Lincoln Bridge, a six-lane bridge carrying I-65 northbound traffic across the river from downtown Louisville to Jeffersonville.
Government leaders from Indiana and Kentucky participated in the ribbon-cutting. They were joined by representatives of WVB East End Partners, the company charged with designing and constructing the East End Crossing. Additionally, many area residents who championed the decades-old concept of a new East End Bridge attended.
Substantial completion of the East End Crossing will provide several significant benefits to the Louisville and Southern Indiana area – including convenient access for residents commuting between eastern Jefferson County and southern Indiana. And for travelers passing through the Louisville area from the north or the south, the East End Crossing will be an alternate – and very accessible – route that bypasses the urban traffic of downtown Louisville.
The Kentucky approach to the new bridge extends Kentucky 841 (the Gene Snyder Freeway) from its previous termination at U.S. 42, adding a new four-lane (two northbound, two southbound) 1.4-mile section. This section includes a pair of 1,700-foot tunnels that carry Kentucky 841 traffic beneath U.S. 42 and the historic Drumanard estate. The Indiana approach, also four lanes, extends Indiana 265 (the Lee Hamilton Highway) four miles to the Ohio River from its previous termination at Indiana 62.
The bridge features two diamond towers rising 300 feet above the Ohio River, with 104 stay cables. It also includes a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Construction of the East End Crossing commenced in June 2013. The East End Crossing is part of the $2.3 billion Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project, which also includes the construction of the Lincoln Bridge.
The Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Department of Transpor-tation contracted the design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the East End Crossing through an innovative public-private partnership with WVB East End Partners.
RiverLink is the name of the new, all-electronic tolling system that makes the project possible. There’s no stopping, no slowing, no lines and no coin machines. Toll rates range from $2-$12, depending on the size of vehicle and whether the driver has a RiverLink account and transponder.
Drivers with transponders will pay the lowest toll rates. Drivers can set up a prepaid RiverLink account to get a transponder. All E-ZPass transponders, including the I-PASS from Illinois and the Indiana Toll Road E-ZPass, will work with the RiverLink system. No further action is necessary.
Drivers without transponders will get bills in the mail, and pay higher toll rates. Drivers who do not pay their tolls will be charged a penalty and may face restrictions on vehicle registration until tolls and penalties are paid.
Drivers can open a personal account online at www.RiverLink.com, by phone at 855-RIV-LINK or in person at one of two RiverLink customer service centers. A personal account can include up to four vehicles, with a minimum balance of $20 to open the account. The account balance rolls over month to month.
The fastest way to open a RiverLink personal account is online. The website is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no wait. Transponders will be mailed to account holders free of charge.
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