From Rail to Trail—Big Four Bridge Opens to Pedestrians and Bicyclers

Big Four Bridge openingIt’s a project that has been in the works for more than two decades for the Waterfront Development Corp., but now the vision has become a reality. The Big Four Bridge that formerly served as a railroad bridge, officially opened to pedestrians and bicyclers today, February 7, 2013. This monumental development serves as a tremendous effort to connect the region between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Indiana, and to promote health and wellness.

Waterfront Development Corp. Executive Director David Karem said that this is “clearly the most anticipated project of Waterfront Park.”

The bridge originally got its name in 1895 from the railroad cities that were serviced through this railroad bridge—Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis—but a train hasn’t chugged across this bridge since the late 1960s.

Work on the Louisville side totaled $12 million to convert the railroad bridge to a cross-river bridge. The Indiana ramp, which is still under construction, has an estimated cost of $10 million. New cables for light installation were added along with metal benches, control boxes, and finishing wire for lights extending the Kentucky-side ramp.

Although Karem said that this 2,525 foot long bridge may still undergo some “fine tuning,” it is ready for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

The informal ceremony this morning was presided over by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. A dedication service is planned for mid-2013 when the Jeffersonville approach to the bridge is complete.

Pedestrians and bicyclers will have direct access to the bridge 24 hours a day, except on special occasions. What a great opportunity to connect and explore our region on both sides of the river! Hope to see on the Big 4!

 

image courtesy of Mayor Greg Fischer 

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