LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The construction on the new East End Bridge continues to roll along, but how are workers actually building the tunnel underneath U.S. 42 and are there anymore traffic changes coming? Both are questions a lot of viewers wanted to know and we dug into the story to get the answers.
Driving along U.S. 42 in Prospect you'll see the work to build the new East End Bridge and tunnel is plowing forward. you may even get stuck in traffic because of the blasting. But what exactly is W-S-B East End Partners doing to make all this happen? Instead of boring through from U.S. 42 to River Road, they're using a lot of dynamite according to Dan Hartlage, spokesman for W-S-B East End Partners.
"Boring is more typically done if you're creating a tunnel that is more of a circular shape, and this tunnel is going to be more of an arch. It's going to be about 60 feet wide, about 20 feet tall, so part of the decision, much of the decision, is based on what the shape of the tunnel will be."
The completed tunnel between U.S. 42 and river road will be 17-hundred feet long and approximately 70 feet underground. crews are working from both ends, on the U.S. 42 side and from the northern portal end at River Road. So, how will they make sure they meet in the middle? Hartlage says it's pretty basic.
"Well, it's not unlike a standard roadway. Part of what is done here is basic surveying. You're surveying above ground and you have markers above ground and through technology they know what's above ground matches what's below ground."
You may not even feel the blasts below. But monitors are set throughout the construction area to check for vibrations to make sure they're not sufficient enough to cause cracks in U.S. 42.
Over the Summer we can expect to see a lot of what we've already seen as far as blasting. But, there will be big changes coming to the interchange at the Snyder Freeway and U.S. 42.
"Kentucky 841 (Snyder Freeway) starting at U.S. 42 and then backing up to Wolf Pen Branch Road, and then beyond to Interstate 71, that entire roadway will be lowered and in a sense recreated," says Hartlage.
This means drivers can expect additional closures due to blasting along Wolf Pen Branch Road on the south side of U.S. 42 and in the Shadow Wood subdivision.
Piers and columns for what will eventually be the bridge and overpass at Harrods Creek and River Road will begin to appear anytime now. The actual bridge will start to appear sometime this coming Fall.
Indiana drivers will also see major changes begin to appear in the area where the bridge will meet the Indiana shore. I-265 will see the addition of a new, full interchange at Old Salem Road. There will also be reconstruction of the I-265 and State Road 62 interchanges. Drivers will also notice updates to Utica-Sellersburg Road near the new section of I-265.
Meanwhile, back on the Kentucky side, drivers who commute via River Road will notice a very active construction zone near Harrods Creek with a reduced speed limit of 25 MPH. No major closures of this stretch of River Road are planned other than occasional closure needed at times to re-pave due to the heavy equipment traffic along River Road near the construction area.
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