Kentucky, Indiana managing extraordinary traffic following closure of Sherman Minton Bridge on I-64
Motorists’ cooperation, patience critical factors to ensure vehicle flow
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 12, 2011) – Transportation and law enforcement officials from Kentucky, Indiana and local governments today worked to shepherd an extraordinary volume of detoured traffic on the first 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,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock. “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 Clark Memorial Bridge, providing three lanes for southbound traffic during the morning rush and three lanes of northbound traffic during afternoon 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.
Troy Woodruff, chief operations officer for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), credited driver patience for avoiding unmanageable problems during the morning rush period, along with great cooperation between his agency, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), and police agencies from Louisville, Jeffersonville, Ind., and New Albany, Ind.
“Without those partnerships, we would not have seen the level of success we saw this morning,” Woodruff said. “Patience is going to be sorely tested. Today was just the first day.”
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 Tuesday morning:
• 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.