As drivers merge onto the newly-built I-265 highway and follow it south, a new landmark will peak its face around the bend of the road: the East End Bridge. The bridge connects Utica, Ind. to Louisville, Ky., and completes a shortcut to the eastern side of the city that once took 30-40 minutes to drive.
Now, the drive is merely 10-20 minutes, and lets drivers avoid the headaches of downtown traffic. More importantly, though, is that the bridge opens up a new side of Louisville some Jeff residents aren’t as familiar with, including an area of shops and restaurants waiting for Hoosiers to come and explore.
Construction of the Bridge
Construction time– Construction of the bridge began in June 2013, cutting into the $2.3 billion budget of the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Project. After three-and-a-half years, the bridge’s opening ceremony took place on Dec. 18, 2016, officially marking the opening of the bridge to the public.
Labor– According to Union worker Donny Farish, the bridge was completed 100-percent by Union laborers. He credited the Union for the construction, saying wages would have been too low without it.
Tolls– If drivers choose to cross the East End Bridge, they might find themselves paying some money to do so. The tolls on the new East End Bridge cost $2 if drivers have a transponder in their car. If not, drivers can expect to pay $3 if the car has a registered license plate from Indiana or Kentucky. All other drivers will pay $4 to cross.
Finishing touches- As of print, the bridge has been opened for over a month. However one can still find construction crews around the bridge seven days a week. Farish says his crew has been working around the clock since Labor Day to finish minor construction on the bridge, as well as the walkway that accompanies it.
Things to do on the Kentucky side of the Bridge
The Paddock Shops- A shopping center right across the bridge is full of shops and restaurants that southern Indiana doesn’t have.
Clothing Shops: J.Crew , Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor and Talbot’s can be found in the Paddock Shopping Center.
Fan Outfitters is a clothing and apparel store for those UK fans and U of L fans looking for the best team gear.
Barnes and Noble can be found in the shopping center, providing customers with a wide variety of books and music to buy.
Blaze Pizza is a restaurant located within the Paddock that serves up some of the most delicious pizzas you’ll ever eat. For the picky eater, Blaze Pizza uses an interactive service format that allows guests to create custom-made pizzas at fast speeds – for only about $7 each.
Cabela’s- Similar to Bass Pro, Cabela’s is a superstore for quality hunting, fishing, camping, recreational shooting and outdoor gear at competitive prices. Cabela’s has a wider variety of hunting gear than Bass Pro, and just as competitive prices.
Things coming to Jeffersonville in the near future
While the bridge is beneficial for Hoosiers, some east-enders from Louisville will reap the benefits of the new structure, too.
A new retail center, located next to the round-abouts in Jeffersonville near River Ridge, is expected to be finished by 2020. This new retail center plans to have four hotels, a medical campus, restaurants, senior housing, a cinema, bank and other retail.
This area is expected to have restaurants that are more family affordable, but no drive-thru services. The site is started with construction already, and hopes to have some shops opening by the end of this year.