Project: East End Crossing Tunnel, Ohio River Bridges Project - Louisville, KY
Customer: Kentucky Dept of Transportation, Indiana Dept of Transportation
Contractor: WVB East End Partners - Louisville, KY
Project obstacles and solutions: The East End Crossing will pass over the Ohio River and connect Interstate 265 in Louisville, Kentucky to State Route 265 in Utica, Indiana. This project will provide access for this growing part of the Greater Louisville region on both sides of the river. The East End Crossing is a public/private partnership with Walsh Investors, Vinci Concessions and Bilfinger Project Investments. The tunnel project is designed to meet 100 year construction specifications.
The project has been in discussions for well over 30 years. One of the major obstacles was the new highway would run through the historic property of the Drumanard Estate. Built in the 1920s, this property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A compromise was reached so that a 1,700 foot stretch of the highway would be routed through a tunnel under the property and its surrounding neighborhood before crossing the river.
WVB East End Partners began construction on the tunnel in 2013 to clear the entrances. Blasting in the two tunnels began in early 2014. Each blast required quick action to secure the area from loose rock. IMI has supplied wet shotcrete for both the external walls of the approach areas and the dual tunnels. The external walls were sprayed with a shotcrete integrally mixed with a structural steel fiber to secure the walls. The tunnels receive two coats of shotcrete. Within one hour of the blast and initial clearing of rock, shotcrete is pneumatically sprayed onto the walls and ceiling of the tunnel to secure the area. The second coat will be applied as a smoothing coat as the tunnels are completed. IMI batches a finer version for the smoothing coat of shotcrete. This is applied prior to the waterproofing membrane being installed in the tunnel. The shotcrete is applied with a robotic pneumatic sprayer that is moved to a forward position after each blast. IMI mixer trucks enter the secure area of the tunnel and concrete is poured into a hopper and pumped to the sprayer.
The East End Crossing is expected to open to traffic in 2016 late in the year. The tunnel project is expected to be completed in 2015.