Panel sets Louisville bridge tolls at $10 to $12 for trucks

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 10/1/2013

A bi-state toll panel has set toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project that links Louisville, Ky., and southern Indiana. The rates will apply to two new bridge spans currently under construction as well as the existing span of a bridge that carries Interstate 65 in and out of downtown Louisville.

The Kentucky-Indiana Tolling Body approved rates on Sept. 11, deciding on a toll range of $10 to $12 for tractor-trailers. The amount varies depending on whether the trucker or carrier has an electronic tolling account. Cars will pay $1 or $2 per trip.

The Ohio River Bridges Project consists of two parts, the East End Crossing and the Downtown Crossing, with a combined cost of $2.6 billion.

The East End Crossing will complete a highway loop around Louisville by connecting the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky with the Lee Hamilton Highway in Indiana. That portion is scheduled to open in 2017. This portion adds new capacity and will be tolled from the moment it opens.

The Downtown Crossing portion, which involves the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge that carries Interstate 65 in and out of downtown Louisville, is different. Truckers and local groups have opposed this phase because it calls for the existing span of the interstate bridge to be tolled as crews work to build a twin span next to it. When the Downtown Crossing is all said and done, the combined new and rehabbed Kennedy bridge will carry six lanes in each direction, and each direction will be tolled.

A spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the tolling panel has not made a decision about when the existing span could become a toll road.

“Tolling start dates are a function of construction schedules and will be addressed as those schedules are better known,” public information officer Ryan Watts told Land Line.

A traffic and revenue study made projections based on a starting date of Jan. 1, 2017. A traffic count in 2012 showed the Kennedy carried 122,000 vehicles per day.

Truckers and local groups successfully protested a previous version of the Ohio River Bridges Project that called for tolls on the existing Sherman Minton Bridge and Clark Memorial Bridge.

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