August 17, 2020 10:13am
GLI advocates for minimizing disruption to businesses during Sherman Minton construction
In a comment letter to the Sherman Minton Renewal project team, GLI strongly advocated for minimizing disruption to businesses throughout the duration of the bridge’s rehabilitation.
The Sherman Minton bridge is a key link between Kentucky and Indiana, crossing the Ohio River and transporting more than 90,000 drivers everyday – including business owners, workers, consumers, vendors, and tourists. The transportation departments of Indiana and Kentucky are currently planning a major rehabilitation of the bridge. In July, the project team for the Sherman Minton Renewal announced a recommended plan for the project, known as a preferred alternative. In response to this announcement, GLI submitted comments outlining the primary concerns and priorities of the Greater Louisville business community for the rehabilitation of this critical regional link. Read GLI’s full letter below.
Greater Louisville Inc., The Metro Chamber of Commerce, (GLI) appreciates this opportunity to submit comments regarding the “Preferred Alternative” for the Sherman Minton Renewal Project. GLI represents more than 1,800 businesses and organizations across 15 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
The importance of the Sherman Minton Bridge to Greater Louisville’s regional economy is difficult to overstate. The bridge serves as a major link in our bi-state region, facilitating the movement of workers, customers, tourists, vendors, and suppliers across the Ohio River. Many businesses in Indiana and Kentucky have workers and customer-bases on both sides of the river. GLI’s members are deeply invested in this project and the bridge’s future.
For GLI’s members, minimizing the disruption of the flow of traffic across the Sherman Minton is of the utmost importance. The need to minimize disruption has become more critical as the Coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses in our region to scale back operations for much of 2020. As we look ahead to 2021 and the years that the bridge will be under construction, it is important to understand that this timeframe will coincide with the recovery efforts of many businesses in our region. The need to minimize disruption has therefore taken on a whole new level of urgency. Construction on the Sherman Minton must not be a barrier to the recovery of businesses and our regional economy.
With these points in mind, our members offer the following comments and questions regarding the Preferred Alternative:
- GLI urges the project team to continue being aggressive with the project timeline, to be consistently attentive to the importance of minimizing disruption and ensuring adequate traffic flow, and to prioritize clear and timely communication to stakeholders on changes to traffic patterns – especially full closures.
- We applaud the Preferred Alternative’s aim to keep at least one lane of traffic open in each direction for nearly 95 percent of the estimated construction process, but we strongly encourage the project team to commit to maximizing the number of two-lane days to the furthest extent possible. Our members would like to see the number of two-lane days significantly outnumber the number of one-lane days.
- While we appreciate efforts to limit consecutive days of closure and closures on weekends, we encourage the project team to continue finding ways to minimize consecutive days of disruption and closures on weekends.
- So that businesses can appropriately plan for full closures, which are expected to be 54 total days, we request assurances that ample notice will be given to community members and stakeholders. Businesses will need time to notify workers, customers, vendors, and suppliers.
- Our members have requested additional information on what can be known about the potential timing of full closures. For example, do we anticipate most of the 54 days of full closure to take place at certain times or months? Do we expect more closures at the start of the project? Establishing effective procedures for communicating closures and other changes to traffic patterns will be critical to supporting businesses during the project.
Thank you again for this opportunity to comment on the Preferred Alternative.