Sherman Minton Renewal to Extend Life of Bridge

INDOT and KYTC beginning environmental study for the project

Work is beginning on development of the Sherman Minton Renewal, an extensive bi-state rehabilitation project to significantly extend the service life of the 56-year-old bridge that connects New Albany, IN and Louisville, KY.

“The first interstate bridge connecting Louisville and Southern Indiana is showing its age,” said Ron Heustis, Indiana Department of Transportation project manager. “The bridge opened to traffic in August 1962. While safe for travel, the bridge is deteriorating and long-term repairs are needed to extend the life of the bridge.”

There are five bridge structures associated with the Sherman Minton crossing. The project includes replacement or refurbishment of all bridge decks, rehabilitation or replacement of structural steel elements and hanger cables, new lighting, drainage repairs and painting of steel components. The long-term repairs, along with normal preventive maintenance, will add up to 30-years of service life to the bridge.

“Without these needed repairs, there will be increasing maintenance needs, costs and potential disruptions in travel,” said Jessica Goodwin, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet project manager. “About 90,000 vehicles rely on the bridge daily and KYTC and INDOT are committed to delivering a safe and cost-effective project while working to minimize disruption to drivers.”

The project extends from I-265 in Indiana to I-264 in Kentucky and includes the rehabilitation or refurbishment of three additional bridges on I-64 within the 3-mile corridor. By including this needed work in the Sherman Minton Renewal, a coordinated approach will help reduce impacts to the public.

INDOT recently initiated the environmental study, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The study is required for all federally-funded projects. It will include a full analysis of the social, economic and environmental impacts of the project, and consideration of ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate those impacts.

Indiana and Kentucky are implementing a public involvement plan as part of the environmental study. In addition, the study will include coordination with local, state and federal agencies, such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard.

The Project Team is charged with identifying the best approach to construction. Multiple options will be explored, including partial closures (lane restrictions) and full closure of the bridge.

Partial closures would maintain traffic, but would create traffic delays, extend the project timeline and increase costs. A full closure of the bridge would provide full access for construction and reduce the timeline and costs, but would force 90,000 vehicles onto another route.

A recommendation on the construction approach is expected fall 2019. After approval of the environmental study by the FHWA, INDOT will procure a design-build contractor to perform the rehabilitation and painting of the bridge.

This is a design-build best value project, which means price is not the only criteria that will determine which team is selected. The project delivery method invites innovative traffic management and constructability solutions that will help reduce construction time and impacts to the public.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2021 and take two to three years to complete, depending on the final scope of the work and the approach to construction and closures.

Project Costs

The $90+ million project is fully funded through federal and state highway funds. There are no plans to toll the Sherman Minton Bridge.

Indiana and Kentucky will share in the cost of the work on the main spans of the Sherman Minton Bridge. INDOT will fund the cost of work on the Indiana approach bridges and some nearby improvements. KYTC will fund the cost of work on the Kentucky approach bridge.

Open Houses

Public involvement will be a key part of the environmental study. Two open houses are planned in early October to share information about the Sherman Minton Renewal, and begin to gather public feedback. Both will feature an interactive format, with multiple stations and a short presentation at 6 p.m. Additional public meetings will be scheduled and held as work progresses on the environmental study. 

Tuesday, Oct. 2
Scribner Middle School
901 Old Vincennes Rd.
New Albany, IN
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 4
Chestnut Street Family YMCA
930 W Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.