Officials from the state, city and university cut the ribbon together after a morning dedication June 21. Gov. Steve Beshear and the Cardinal Bird took a ceremonial first ride before it was officially opened to traffic.

This project wasn’t just about a bridge, Beshear said. It was about improving and modernizing on a variety of levels this important corridor into the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus.

The governor noted that more than 15,400 cars travel on Eastern Parkway each day.

The current economic recession has made it tougher for local, state and federal agencies to fund projects like Eastern Parkway, he said, but added that in tough times, leaders need to continue to push important projects.

The completion of the Eastern Parkway project is further proof that we’re moving ahead, Beshear said.

UofL President James Ramsey thanked Beshear, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and Metro Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson for their leadership and support in bringing the $7.9 million project to its completion. The project included three parts: renovation and beautification of Eastern Parkway, including the bridge and the area from Crittenden Drive to Third Street; installing warning signals for trucks  that are attempting to navigate under a railroad bridge south of the Third Street-Eastern Parkway interchange; and improving the exit ramp from I-65 to Warnock Street.

This project turned out to be more complicated than expected, and it took a little longer than we had hoped, Ramsey said. But we are happy to see the finished product and glad it enhances the experience of those of us who live, work and play at the University of Louisville.

The roadway opened to traffic about an hour after the ceremony. Old Eastern Parkway, which runs under the bridge between Floyd and Brook streets, will remain closed until about July 1.

TARC route 29 will begin service on its normal route Thursday, June 24.

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