Louisville’s Transportation Committee Says End Litigation Against Bridges Project

by Devin Katayama on October 6, 2011

Louisville Metro Council’s Transportation, Bridges and Public Works Committee is asking River Fields and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to drop its suit against the Ohio River Bridges Project, as it continues to narrow down the options to begin building by next August.

“We are in a battle saying what can we do to help move this forward and anybody that’s thinks they’re going to stand there and say no, no, no, no, no—those days are over. It is time to move forward,” said Councilman Kelly Downward.

Litigation from the conservation group River Fields is just one issue delaying the project, said Downard. The committee passed a resolution asking litigation to end. River Fields and the National Trust for Historic Preservation say the federal government hasn’t properly made the case for both bridges, but criticism of the suit and the organizations has grown in recent years.

It’s unlikely the resolution will sway any future decisions by the federal courts, if it passes, said William O’Brien with the Jefferson County attorney’s office.

“I hate to be facetious and smart, but I don’t really think the federal court system is going to weigh anything that you all have to say in a resolution,” he said.

The Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority gave progress reports to the committee Thursday. Co-chair Kerry Stemler said discussions around proposed methods of building the bridges continue. Six methods for building the project are being discussed and in all but one option Kentucky’s state law will have to change, he said.

The resolution against River Fields will go before the full council next Thursday. River Fields rejected an invitation to attend the committee meeting.

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