Sunday, December 06, 2015
Abraham Lincoln Bridge Opening
It was a historic day in the Louisville area as a new bridge across the Ohio River was opened to allow people to walk its span for about a 4 hour period on Saturday, December 5, 2015. It was a cold and very foggy morning but I wanted to visit because I doubt transportation authorities will allow pedestrians back on this bridge unless there is a major emergency. If you look at the trees in the above picture, the fog has left an icy sheen on the limbs.
Only the Indiana side of the Abraham Lincoln bridge was accessible, so one had to get to Indiana to be able to walk on the bridge. After seeing the cars backed up on the Kennedy bridge going to Indiana I decided to park near the walking bridge on the Kentucky side and walk to the Indiana side. A lot of people came to that same conclusion as I joined the migration from Louisville to Jeffersonville, Indiana.
When we got to the other side of the Ohio River we were greeted by a 5 block long line of people waiting to gain access to the new bridge at around 10 AM EST. As it turns out the dignitaries were giving speeches or waiting for the bridge opening ceremony. By this time, 20,000 people must have been in the area of the estimated 40,000-50,000 that would show up between 10 AM - 2 PM to walk the bridge.
I finally made it up to the bridge by 11 AM and spent about 30 minutes walking to the Kentucky end and looping back to Indiana. The crowd was well behaved even with all the waiting we had to do. Once on the bridge decking there was a sense of awe and happiness that the bridge was almost complete after so many years of wanting another river crossing (52 years since the last bridge opening). Lots and lots of pictures were being taken and people dressed a Lincoln, Santa Claus were wandering around. The police, paramedics and fire department had a strong presence with helicopters constantly circling the bridge and at least 4 police boats patrolling the river.
It was a neat event to attend even with the huge crowds and the sun came out while I was on the Lincoln bridge. My impressions of the bridge were it seemed very solid and consisted of a lot of concrete. The metal supports are off to the side so hopefully a lot easier to paint than the other metal bridges we have now in the Louisville area. Hopefully by the end of 2016 the other bridge will be ready along with the retrofit of the Kennedy bridge and our days of traffic congestion will be behind us.