Kentucky and Indiana officials have finalized agreements that will govern the construction, financing and long-term management of the Ohio River Bridges Project, which will add two new river crossings in Louisville and rebuild downtown interchanges on both sides.

The Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority, which was created to develop a financing plan for the project, is expected to meet within the next two weeks to take action on the Development Agreement, which will delegate to the two states the Authority?s powers as necessary to deliver the project.

The agreements protect the legal and financial interests of both states, which are working together to share responsibility for construction, financing, oversight and management of the Bridges Project.

This is a critical step toward achieving this long-sought project to increase cross-river mobility for commercial carriers, workday commuters and others who travel between Louisville and Southern Indiana,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock.

“The development agreement ties together each state?s portion of the project and reaffirms the „two bridges, one project? concept,” said Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Michael Cline.

To speed construction and share responsibility, Governors Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Steve Beshear of Kentucky agreed to divide oversight of the two major components of the project. The financing of the project will rely on traditional transportation funding from federal gas tax dollars and user fees from tolls on the new and improved crossings.

Kentucky is in charge of financing and constructing the Downtown Crossing, which includes a new Interstate 65 bridge for northbound traffic, a reconstructed Kennedy Bridge for southbound traffic, revamped interchanges in Jeffersonville, Ind., and the Kennedy Interchange, where Interstates 64, 65 and 71 merge in downtown Louisville.

Indiana is in charge of constructing an upriver East End Crossing between Utica, Ind., and Prospect, Ky. It will close a loop by connecting the Lee Hamilton Highway (Indiana State Route 265) and the Gene Snyder Freeway (Kentucky 841), opening a vast area to potential development.

There's more good news too... Chuck Wolfe from the KY Transportation Cabinet says procurement of each state's respective portion of the project remains on schedule with contracting teams to be selected by the end of the year.