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September 11, 2011 9:20 AM The lesson of the Sherman Minton Bridge

By Steve Benen

We talked yesterday about the desperate need for public investments in infrastructure, and evidence from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics that suggest Republican leaders — for the sake of their own constituents — should drop their opposition to these investments.

As several commenters noted, the timing of this story in Mitch McConnell’s home state helps drive the point home.

The Sherman Minton Bridge was closed late Friday afternoon and will remain shut down indefinitely after officials discovered cracks in the span.

Will Wingfield, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said officials “do not have an estimate” on how long it will take to repair and reopen the bridge, which carries Interstate 64 traffic across the Ohio River.

Wingfield said the cracks were found in two steel support beams below the lower deck closer to the Kentucky side.

For safety reasons, Indiana officials felt it necessary to shut down the bridge immediately and indefinitely. I’m not especially familiar with this area, but this apparently caused some rush-hour chaos on Friday night, as locals in Kentucky and Indiana scrambled to find alternate routes.

Kerry Stemler, co-chairman of the Ohio River Bridges Authority, called this a “wake-up call,” adding, “This shows how important these bridges are to the community and the region.”

Complicating matters, it appears thatmuch of the traffic that will be diverted to another nearby bridge. As a local official noted, that other bridge “already handles more traffic than what it was designed for.”

For every Republican in Congress who’s already arguing we can’t afford to invest in infrastructure, I think the evidence is pretty clear we can’t afford not to.

And just to expand a little more on a point we touched on briefly yesterday, it’s important to remember that now is the perfect time to make these investments — not only because the economy would benefit and because our infrastructure demands are so great, but also because it’d be cheaper to spend the money now rather than later.

Because borrowing rates are so remarkably low right now, we have a unique opportunity that we won’t see again for a very long time. Indeed, policymakers should be pinching themselves with the good fortune — they know the nation has important investments to make; they know they’d prefer to keep borrowing costs to a minimum; and they know they’re effectively being offered free money. Washington can use that free money to create jobs and improve crumbling infrastructure, with the satisfaction of knowing it’s never been more cost effective to do so.

I’ll leave it to Republicans to once again explain why they don’t care.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • DAY on September 11, 2011 9:29 AM:

    "We'll cross that bridge, when we come to it."

    Senator McConnell travels to and from Washington, DC, by air. . .

  • Anonymous on September 11, 2011 9:34 AM:

    DAY:

    Actually, in this case, we won't cross that bridge, but will cross on another bridge adding 45 minutes to our commute time.

    Your point about air commutes for the congresscritters is well taken. We should require congresscritters to take our commutes occasionally.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on September 11, 2011 9:37 AM:

    For every Republican in Congress who’s already arguing we can’t afford to invest in infrastructure, I think the evidence is pretty clear we can’t afford not to.


    Bridges are for the little people. What we need is corporate jet tax relief for the job creators.

  • berttheclock on September 11, 2011 9:41 AM:

    How dare a wild eyed Socialistic Governor of Indiana shut down a bridge known for carrying former slaves out of Louisville in their escape to the North and onward to St Louis. Mitch Daniels should be re-called, eh?

  • berttheclock on September 11, 2011 9:44 AM:

    No one ever knows which political side of the bed Chris Matthews departs each morning, but, did anyone else catch his program, a few days back, where he kept listing the many bridges in the Eric Cantor's district needing repairs?

  • Todd for VT House on September 11, 2011 9:44 AM:

    "We'll cross that bridge, when we come to it."

    More like, "we'll burn that bridge while we're crossing it."

  • navarro on September 11, 2011 9:45 AM:

    they don't care enough to explain their apathy. and will their constituents require them to explain? at this point, i have to say "no, they won't."

  • Todd for VT House on September 11, 2011 9:45 AM:

    I wonder if there's a hovercraft factory being built in KY?

  • FRP on September 11, 2011 9:49 AM:

    Fire !

    DAY IS

    ON

    FIRE !

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 9:55 AM:

    Here's a link to a discussion forum in the Louisville area where folks are mad about it. The same people in the thread crying about the bridge problem and whining about how long it has taken to come up with bridge plans for the are (two bridges have been in the plans for 30 years) are the same ones who are crying about the inconveniences for business in the area. They are the same ones that are the biggest wingnuts on the forum. They're so shortsighted they can't see their own shortsightedness.

    http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=17&f=2766&t=7900147

  • SR on September 11, 2011 9:55 AM:

    The right will just use these examples as reasons to privatize the bridges, roads and other infrastructure resources.

  • Kathryn on September 11, 2011 10:12 AM:

    Berttheclock, love your comments on Chris Matthews, a more schizophrenic pundit does not exist. Sometimes you want to stand up and applaud when he points out the bridges in Cantor's district that need repairs and other times he comes on like a conservatives best friend. My main problem with him is his tendency to latch onto a meme and never let go even as people all around him point out relevant discrepancies.

    DisgustedWithItAll "They're so shortsighted, they can't see their own shortsightedness" that sums it up particularly well. Don't miss Stephen Pearlstein in Wash. Post Business today everybody.

  • martin on September 11, 2011 10:13 AM:

    Captcha ate my entry.

    As the radio ads write themselves, I presume the crack political marketing teams at the White House and DNC have bought hours of drive time Monday in the Indiana and Kentucky market to pound home their jobs and infrastructure bill to those trapped in traffic.

    Right?

  • sick -n-effin-tired on September 11, 2011 10:20 AM:

    That bridge and all other will be repaired when we get a Republican back in the Whitehouse and we can start borrowing again with reckless abandon. Remember deficits don't matter under Republican rule.

  • walt on September 11, 2011 10:23 AM:

    Cracks in the span? More proof that government can't do anything right! Unleash the private sector! Deregulate business so the profit motive can solve all our problems! Lower the minimum wage! Cut "entitlements"! End Death Panels! Stop deficit spending! Stop card check!

    Anything else?

  • hell's littlest angel on September 11, 2011 10:25 AM:

    b&k: I try to appreciate Chris Matthews, but he's never met a stereotype he didn't like or a cliche he couldn't misuse.

  • Drew on September 11, 2011 10:26 AM:

    I live in Louisville and can offer a little insight into the bridge situation here. Closing the Sherman Minton means cutting off I-64 from the west into Louisville. I-64 is the major east/west thoroughfare in the city. All traffic will have to be rerouted over the I-65 bridge, where commuters can take I-265 in Indiana to reconnect with I-64. This is going to cause massive traffic delays, as I-65 is already heavily congested during rush hour.

    The debate over bridge construction in the city has been going on for decades. The official committee, the Ohio River Bridges Project (http://www.kyinbridges.com/), has been developing a solution, the cost of which has ballooned to over $4 billion.

    Conflicts over special interests, from both sides of the aisle, have kept the project stalled for years. The largest point of contention is over an East End Bridge, which would finally connect I-265 from the north in Indiana to I-265 in the south in eastern Louisville. This would provide a viable I-64 bypass around the city - a bypass I'm sure authorities had as an option now.

    Over the past decade, a viable alternative has emerged in 8664 (8664.org). Their plan is a response to the solution being proposed by the Ohio River Bridges Project, a solution which basically throws more road and concrete at the problem. In short, 8664 proposes building the east end bridge, removing I-64 through downtown and reclaiming the riverfront. A similar project was completed in Portland, OR. There's a lot more information as well as a very good overview video on the 8664 website.

    Given the context, will the closing of the Sherman Minton trigger any action on the stalled project? I doubt it. They'll fix the bridge asap, then go back to arguing over how to move forward... until the I-65 bridge closes for repairs, which would have a far larger impact on the city.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 10:33 AM:

    @Drew: the important question is: are you UofL or UK?

  • Ladyhawke on September 11, 2011 10:57 AM:

    Chris Matthews had a good segment on the infrastructure aspect of The American Jobs Act. Apparently, there are 94 structurally deficient bridges in Majority Leader Eric Cantor's district.


    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/#44461587

  • rrk1 on September 11, 2011 10:58 AM:

    The Rethugs want a bad economy and a crumbling infrastructure. Both advance their ideology of privatization and regulatory destruction. And you can always run against the (Democratic) boys in power for not keeping the public safe enough, or just run against the incompetence of government.

    So what if a bridge crashes and a few commoners get killed, or 45-minutes are added to a commute. That only makes people madder at all that unnecessary government. Anything bad works to the advantage of the Rethugs. At least that's what they think, and given the stupidity of the public, with good reason.

    Captcha is off its meds again.

  • berttheclock on September 11, 2011 11:00 AM:

    Well, as long as this does not impede the handle for the first Saturday in May of 2012 at CD.

    Drew, you mentioned Portland. However, there has been a major fight for several years over replacing the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River. Committees formed, plans drawn up and rejected, more committee work. Designs have been beaten into the ground by various interest groups. Eight lanes, no, ten lanes, no, Light Rail, no arches, yes, have a beautiful arch, wider bike lanes, no bike lanes, no this, no that, etc. While, this is ongoing, the fear of obtaining Federal money, which had, originally been considered to be a given, is becoming very murky. The new Mayor of Vancouver, WA, a RepuG, swept into office by proclaiming he would not allow a toll to be imposed on the Washington side. Funny about that - No Mayor has any control over such a remedy. But, the No Tax types on the Washington side ate it up. Building a needed bridge appears to be very hard to accomplish long before any workers show up to perform the work.

  • Ladyhawke on September 11, 2011 11:07 AM:

    Check out the condition of bridges in your area.


    REPORT CARD AMERICAN INFRASTRUCTURE:


    http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

  • Drew on September 11, 2011 11:17 AM:

    @DisgustedWithItAll UofL, of course.

  • FRP on September 11, 2011 11:18 AM:

    Tweety has loudly claimed that Social Security is Ponzi Scheme .

    Bob Somerby minces very few steps in detailing the appalling misery that supports cardboard men such as our Tweety . From the ambitious tongue licking the bathroom floor to be president to Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme , Tweety along with the late Timmuh have played the divide and conquer script
    .............. W I T H O U T ---- F A I L

    From the "founder" of the Republican party ...
    "Government of the People
    By the People
    For the People" ...

    From the Founders of -
    ....................IOKIYAR

    I wanna be corporate cowboy

    You can be my sheep

    Cuz I wanna be

    A mighty corporate cowboy

    Of the Corporation
    By the Corporation
    For the Corporation

    Bye Bye to confusion over who is a person
    Hullo to the peace of the the powerless ...

  • zandru on September 11, 2011 11:19 AM:

    But Keep Repeating It

    Mr. Benen isn't the first to note the aging, collapsing infrastructure of this country and how during this economic crisis, repairing it would be just the ticket for getting people to work and helping the economy to recover. He probably isn't even in the first 1000.

    Apparently, it'll take more than just thousands of pundits. We all need to contact our Congresspersons and the White House, our local legislators and city councillors, county commissioners, and folks running for those slots.

    Eventually it will sink in - but probably not unless enough people speak up.

    eferred apopiosis: it's what happens when you scrimp on maintenance and repair.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 11:32 AM:

    @Drew: that is the ***CORRECT*** answer, fellow Card!!

  • freelunch on September 11, 2011 11:54 AM:

    The interesting thing about the battle of the bridges over the Ohio is that the Sherman Minton wasn't part of the battle. The battle was about the new East End (I-265) bridge which is effectively a Kennedy (I-65) Bridge reliever and an new or completely rebuilt Kennedy Bridge. No one was paying attention to the Sherman Minton.

  • yellowdog on September 11, 2011 12:02 PM:

    Sherman Minton was a Senator from Indiana and an energetic New Deal Democrat. He later made a mediocre Supreme Court Justice, though he did provide one of the votes in the unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Minton once made a bit of a buzz criticizing Republican control of the media--though he dropped it when said media criticized him rather harshly. I suspect that if the current GOP knew these things, its members in Congress would remove Minton's name from the crumbling bridge, rename it the Ayn Rand Freedom Path, and put a toll-booth on it. You think I exaggerate?

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 12:22 PM:

    This closing of the Sherman Minton is not a surprise to me. I don't use the thing very often, and hadn't been on it in about six years, but about a month ago I needed to do something in New Albany. (For those unfamiliar, New Albany is in Indiana directly across the Ohio River and opposite from Louisville.) I was simply appalled at the looks of the thing, and wondered when the last time it had been inspected. I assumed it gets inspected often enough and the unattractiveness of it was just the result of a coat of paint. So this development is really somewhat strange that it came after I had been wondering about the bridge so shortly after I had seen it and thinking about it. Very strange.

  • CDW on September 11, 2011 12:23 PM:

    You're preaching to the choir, Steve. These exact words should be pounded home by the administration and by the Democratic Party. Time and time again. So, in the name of bipartisanship our bridges collapse and roads are closed. Who will get the blame, I wonder? It won't be mcconnell and his minions.

  • Josef K on September 11, 2011 12:36 PM:

    Wonder how McConnell will spin this off when some of his constituents get killed. Probably just shrug and say its no big thing as their families can collect life insurance.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 12:44 PM:

    Here's what will happen if we have President Republican:

    - President Republican will notice that infrastructure everywhere needs great attention
    - Republicans everywhere in Congress, state legislatures will notice that infrastructure everywhere needs great attention.
    - President Republican and Republicans everywhere will wonder how in the hell Democrats everywhere let infrastructure everywhere get in such bad shape
    - President Republican and Republicans everywhere will demand this be taken care of and discover government is the best way to take care of this. The way to finance this will be to generate more tax revenue by enacting a huge tax cut, especially on the rich. Because ...

    - deficits don't matter (when Republicans are in power)

    - Republicans everywhere will demand that the fiscal situation of the country is in such a horrible mess because of the profligacy of Democrats and their social safety net that the social safety net be simply vouchers for Medicare and privatization of Social Security.

  • Tom Johnson on September 11, 2011 2:03 PM:

    I'm not sure this as as easy as blaming Republicans. In the case of Louisville, Senator McConnell and former Representative Anne Northup (R) have been consistent supporters of the new bridges project -- as has almost all of the political establishment in Louisville, Republican and Democrat. (The Bridges Project would add two more bridges across the Ohio River in the Louisville area, making the closing of the Sherman Minton less dire.) The resistance to the bridges has come from two main groups.

    First, there are "environmentalists" who are not so much environmentalists as they are wealthy people from the city's east end. The extension of I-265 over the river would run through some of the area's most beautiful estates -- enclaves of the rich and locally powerful who don't like the idea of an interstate-class bridge looking out over their bridle paths and moored yachts. This group is not really environmentally inclined, but they're adept at using environmental rhetoric and legal processes to slow this project.

    The second group is made up of Kentucky politicians not from the Louisville area. They're perfectly willing to collect Louisville taxes to fund ridiculous highway projects in the hinterlands, but have blocked almost every attempt to use state money to build bridges in Louisville. So every time it looks like financing for additional bridges is lined up, the state pulls the plug and we're back to zero.

    What was once a relatively simple project -- build a bridge on the east-side beltway around the city -- has ballooned into a $4 billion project involving the construction of two bridges and the reconfiguration of that tangled interchange between Interstates 64 and 65 and about a dozen major surface streets, along with park and floodwall improvements. Duplicity is so ingrained at every level of the political process that it's nearly impossible to tell who's really in favor of the bridges and who isn't. I'm convinced that one of the reasons the project grew tenfold in cost and scope is that some of the politicians who claim they support the bridges in reality want to make them so big and expensive that they will never be built.

    So we're left with a metropolitan area at the confluence of two major commercial arteries (I-64 and I-65) and a population of 1.3 million with three bridges across the Ohio River, one of which is the two-lane, low volume 2nd Street Bridge. This is the same cohort of bridges the city had 50 years ago, when the metro area's population was half what it is now. (Contrast this with Cincinnati, just upstream, which has 2.2 million people and seven bridges.) We have virtually no public transportation network to fall back on. We're stuck.

    This is perhaps an example of everything that ails our politics, a smorgasbord of culpability with enough to go around for all parties but no one getting stuck with the tab. Everyone who's played a part in this long-running comedy will be able to find a place to hide, pointing fingers at their party's usual suspects while claiming they, themselves, did their utmost to serve the public need.

    The rest of us will be sitting in traffic, our 20 minute commutes turned into two hour nightmares for the next six months.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 3:00 PM:

    Interesting there's (3) people from Louisville here.

  • Skip on September 11, 2011 3:05 PM:

    More and more the bills for past negligence are coming due on a nation now struggling with recession. It's like constantly neglecting oil changes for your car, then blaming socialism when your engine seizes up.

    I can't wait for Rick Perry to get elected. I am sure he will fix the debt, the infrastructure, the economy, the job market, the housing market, the national and global recession, and that prayer for rain will finally come to fruition in Texas this time, instead of Vermont. The US will be saved because Perry "looks" more like a president, by gawd.

    //need I say snark?//

    Captcha the Oracle: writyin water...

  • exlibra on September 11, 2011 4:22 PM:

    Sherman Minton was a Senator from Indiana and an energetic New Deal Democrat. -- yellow dog, @12:02

    No wonder his underpinnings are worthless :)

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on September 11, 2011 4:29 PM:

    Wasn't there as movie about this? "Don't raise the bridge, lower the wages", or something like that?

    Sure, you've got near-zero interest rates, but you've still got to get rid of the unions and that pesky minimum wage. Then it'll be all systems go, with President Perry finally getting America back to work!

  • Kate on September 11, 2011 4:35 PM:

    A quick thank you to the commenters: I've learned a lot about Louisville and Kentucky politics. Very interesting to get informed local perspectives.

  • rbe1 on September 11, 2011 4:57 PM:

    We'll let that bridge collapse after we've crossed it.

  • T-Rex on September 11, 2011 5:35 PM:

    Explain their reasons? Why? The reasons are obvious. If a bridge collapses and kills hundreds, they'll blame Obama because it happened on his watch, like the BP oil rig disaster. And by continuing to block job creation they'll prevent the economy from recovering before the election. There's just no down side, is there?

  • Treehugger on September 11, 2011 6:18 PM:

    New Albany girl, here. For the past couple of weeks, the Eastbound part of the Sherman Minton has had the left lane closed 24X7 and traffic has been a hot mess! At first, we were told it would be closed for a couple of weeks, then one of my KY friends heard a report that the left lane would be closed until Mid-October. Now, 2 weeks later- it's going to be closed completely, indefinitely. I'm 99% sure (and other Indiana to KY commuters may concur) that our alternate bridges cannot handle an additional 40,000+ commuters daily. I predict mayhem... Tempers are flaring as-is.

    I am glad that Mitch Daniels made the decision to close the bridge as I was just sitting on it one day last week, while stuck in traffic, thinking about the MN bridge collapse. Better to err on the side of caution. In the meantime, Indiana constituents of our Tea Party congress-critter,Todd Young, please call, write, tweet, whatever and let him know that this is unacceptable.

  • Cha on September 11, 2011 7:07 PM:

    The Sherman Minton Bridge is closed down for infrastructure safety concerns and Mitch McConnell's mantra is ..

    "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 7:52 PM:

    @treehugger: The CJ this morning said 90,000 per day!! I can't find that exact article, but this page says 89,000 so...

    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110910/NEWS01/309100051/Sherman-Minton-problems-will-take-3-weeks-to-diagnose-officials-say?odyssey=tab|mostpopular|text|FRONTPAGE

    Here's some pictures of the rust I was talking about earlier:

    http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=B2&Date=20110909&Category=EXTRAS18&ArtNo=309090094&Ref=PH

    Enjoy our deteriorating nation, brought to you by the Banana Republicans.

  • Tom Johnson on September 11, 2011 8:23 PM:

    A couple of weeks ago, I was walking in Waterfront Park under the Kennedy Bridge, which is I-65 north out of Louisville to Indianapolis. I was shocked at the huge chunks of concrete missing from the piers. If that has to close at some point, it'll be way more trouble than the Sherman Minton.

    At some point, you'd Think someone would notice the effect on commerce stuff like this has. I know conservatives like to say the government can't create jobs, but can anyone seriously believe that the Interstate Highway System wasn't a boon to the economy? And, conversely, it is reasonable to think its deterioration isn't a drag on the economy?

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 11, 2011 9:10 PM:

    The idiots that hate the government can't appreciate what they take for granted. They assume all that infrastructure, all those research universities, all those spinoff inventions made possible by government sponsored research money were of no consequence. And I fear so many people are so similarly blind and assume the same that we'll have to lose it for the idiots to understand its importance. And Democrats are too scared of their shadows to call the lie to the idiocy. By that time, the rest of the world will have surpassed us by so much we'll be a 2nd rate nation wondering what the hell happened. It sure looks like what is happening to me.

  • alix on September 12, 2011 6:30 AM:

    Tom, and I don't even want to know what the underside of the 2nd street Bridge (for those unfamiliar with the area, the very old bridge that connects downtown L'ville with Indiana, just next to the I-65 bridge Tom was saying had concrete missing). I really doubt that can handle much extra traffic. It must be 70 years old.

  • EngrTony on September 12, 2011 10:35 AM:

    I am a structural engineer experienced with bridge design and inspections (over 20 years) including truss bridges such as the Sherman Minton bridge. Truss bridges are unique in the sense that they do not have load path redundancy and their primary load-carrying members are what we define as "fracture critical" members that carry tension and are very susceptible to fatigue. As these steel chords are repeatedly stressed and released in tension by traffic loads, the metal gradually weakens over time. Eventually cracks form, which means that the metal is very near the end of its effective service life.

    If one of these fracture critical members were to fail, the lack of any redundancy would mean that the bridge will suddenly and catastrophically collapse, potentially killings hundreds of people on the bridge.

    Federal law requires these bridges to be inspected at minimum every two years. Older bridges that carry major roadways and have documented problems are inspected more frequently. From what I've been able to track down on this situation, the commuters in the Louisville area should all be thankful that the inspectors found these cracks and that the public officials had the courage to act quickly.

    However, this does not excuse the politicians (specially today's tea party republicans) who, in the name of fiscal conservatism, seem willing to allow our nation's infrastructure to decay into such a deplorable condition. This bridge closure is only the tip of the iceberg; I personally have inspected many bridges that are in very poor condition and have had to recommend load restrictions and closures. This nation needs a massive infusion of investment to rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. I am ashamed that a nation such as ours must accept a banana republic infrastructure when great public works projects are being rapidly built overseas.

  • HAT on September 12, 2011 4:54 PM:

    Home from Louisville, in time to pick my daughter up from volleyball practice. Whew.

    I am hoping that the crisis - surely, people are thinking of this as a crisis - will accomplish a few things. (1) Get people to recognize the need for the new bridges, or AT LEAST the 265 bypass bridge. (2) Get some people to recognize that money not spent for infrastructure eventually actually comes back to impact their bottom lines; so that the knee-jerk greed reflex that wants to limit public spending to less than would be required to secure the common good gets balanced by the greed reflex that recognizes there are some benefits even to the greedy that come from getting a little closer to that common good. (3) Get some of the Hoosier Republicans out of office. That would actually be worth sitting in traffic for.

  • beltwaybrian on September 12, 2011 8:13 PM:

    The Second Street Bridge, originally the "Municipal Bridge" was opened to the public the day after the stock market crash in October of 1929. It is a four lane bridge, two in each direction. Far from being an interstate bridge it has a speed limit of 35 MPH and no traffic division, save for the yellow stripes. The best move authorities have taken to reduce the strain on traffic has been to make the bridge three lanes southbound in the AM, reversed three lanes northbound in the evening. I work at the very foot of the bridge at the KFC Yum! Center and my morning commute from Sellersburg, IN is usually a 15 minute affair. Today, utilizing every side street I know I made it in an hour and 10 minutes. Tonight I am scouting a few places to park my auto and ride my bike across the 2nd Street Bridge which thankfully does have sidewalks on both sides. One option not mentioned so far, one that would take some short-term work to bring up to speed, are the roadways beneath the K&I bridge that leads from New Albany to the Portland neighborhood in Louisville, last used in the late 60's if I am to trust my elders. It is not a perfect solution nor an overnight solution, but one that I hope someone is looking into. Even for foot traffic and bicycles it would relieve some strain from the other bridges. In 2013 we anticipate the opening of another old bridge (the "Big Four" bridge) which is currently being rehabilitated into a pedestrian/bicycle path across the Ohio river. If the cracks in the bridge are as bad as some are privately fearing the Sherman Minton may have to come down and be replaced...and so much for the East End Bridge, to say nothing of the other (not really needed if we have an East End Bridge) Downtown Bridge. And as for the cost cutting measure of trimming the East End Bridge from 6 lanes to 4 lanes...seriously...are you really considering that option?

    Yes, you folks out there, Kentucky politics come to you courtesy of the Bizzaro World. That's why the Wife insisted that when we moved home from DC that we moved to the Indiana side of the river. Indiana republicans are nowhere near as crazy as Kentucky republicans, though I find the tea party zealotry to be much more fierce in Indiana.

    But no one does B-S Crazy like Mitch McConnyou. He's the MASTER!

    Can we get a new bridge, please, in the East End? I mean, you know, if the once-forgotten-about Sherman Minton doesn't fall into the river?

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