Lack of Transportation Budget Delays Action on Bridges Project

by Gabe Bullard on April 16, 2012

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the General Assembly’s inaction on a transportation budget has put the Ohio River Bridges Project on hold.

The commonwealth is in charge of the downtown portion of the project, which includes a new bridge between Louisville and southern Indiana and a reworking of Spaghetti Junction. This week, the state Transportation Cabinet was supposed to choose three finalists from five firms that submitted bids for the project. The three finalists would then prepare more detailed plans, with the bid to be awarded this fall.

But now cabinet officials say they won’t announce the finalists until the transportation budget passes.

“The three finalist companies are going to spend literally millions of dollars to prepare a very detailed, technical response to make their proposal, if you will,” says cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe. “Before we would ask anybody to do that, we’ve got to have clear legislative authority.”

The General Assembly has passed an unfunded road plan, but Wolfe says that doesn’t grant the authority or funds to move the bridges project forward.

“No contractor would want to take a chance on that, either,” he says.

Beshear has called lawmakers back to Frankfort to pass a transportation budget. The process could take up to two weeks.

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