Many of you have questions about the status of the Jeffersonville side of the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge and the timeline regarding its completion.
Q: Why is there a delay?
A: There has been a delay due to a few issues, but let me give you the primary three:
1) There was an historic house on Walnut that needed to be removed from the site last year prior to Gohmann starting construction, and due to some technical issues with the MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) between the Federal Highway Administration and the Indiana State Historic Preservation Officer, this process was delayed. This got Gohmann off to a late start.
2) The original plan for the lighting along the elevated structure consisted of the same fixtures that Louisville has on their ramp, the multi-colored triangular posts. We had received confirmation from Rose Hill Neighborhood that they were in approval of these lights early last year and designed for them accordingly, but they came back to us and asked that we revisit the design. We agreed to work through the changes that they were requesting, which ended up excluding the original lights like Louisville’s, and implementing a lighted handrail that runs the full length of slope, both sides. Rose Hill agreed to this modification, but nevertheless, we had to redesign all of the electrical and lighting package, including the railing itself to accommodate the conduit for the lighted handrail.
3) Once the steel box girders were set in place last fall, the contractor noticed that they were not performing as expected. The design engineer was brought in to inspect, and after some time it was determined that there was an issue with some of the design calculations. We’ve been assured that the issues do not affect the safety or longevity of the structure, and we’ve made some construction modifications in order to account for the issues. (Notice the temporary support structure that has been installed under the first span along Chestnut Street.) This structure will remain in place until the concrete deck has been poured and cured, and then will be removed.
Q: Is there anything in the contract with Gohmann that will penalize them for the delay?
A: There are stipulations in the contract with Gohmann that would penalize them for any delays caused by them, but at this point I don’t believe that there are any delays that can be attributed to them. (InDOT is performing the Construction Inspection on the project and has tracked all of the work, so that could be an incorrect statement; but even if there are some delays on Gohmann’s part, they would be minor. I’m not aware of any at this time.)
So, to answer the big question that I think everyone wants to know – “When will it be open?” – is difficult. As I said above, Gohmann in slated to complete the structural components of the project by August 31. The lighting package will be bid in May, meaning that we would probably have a new contractor able to start by June. But, with Gohmann not being finished until the end of August, this could cause a start delay on the electrical/lighting contractor. We probably won’t know a completion date until after we have a contractor for the electrical and lighting, and they see what they can get started on with their contract in view of Gohmann’s completion status at that time. I wish that I could give you a better answer than that, but it’s really all that we know ourselves at this time.