Major Win for Ohio River Bridges Project

FBT secures federal appeals court decision upholding dismissal of lawsuit seeking to halt project

August 18, 2014

The $2.3 billion Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project can proceed as planned after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an organization opposed to the project. The suit was initially filed in 2009, but dismissed by District Judge John Heyburn last year. Frost Brown Todd has successfully represented the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet throughout the litigation process, including the Sixth Circuit appeal.

In a unanimous three-judge panel ruling, the Sixth Circuit declared recently that the appeal by the Coalition for Advancement of Regional Transportation (CART) failed to raise a single material issue to support its allegations of environmental and civil rights violations. Instead, the judges said, an administrative record of more than 150,000 pages contains ample evidence that the project has been carried forward in good faith.

“This ruling affirms the hard work of our project team,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, represented by Frost Brown Todd attorneys Tim Hagerty, Jason Renzelmann, and Emily McKinney during the appeals process. “The law has been scrupulously followed as we have assessed and documented the effect of the Ohio River Bridges project on the environment and population of the Louisville and Southern Indiana area.”

“We were thrilled to secure this milestone victory for our client, and to help keep this vitally important economic development and transportation project on track for the Louisville region,” said Hagerty.  Frost Brown Todd has been assisting the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet since 1998 in meeting the diverse legal needs of the Bridges Project, including completion of required federal and state environmental reviews, negotiation of key project development agreements, and procurement and oversight of a Design-Build contractor to construct the Project.  “Frost Brown Todd looks forward to continuing to assist the Transportation Cabinet in seeing that the Bridges Project becomes a reality.”

The Ohio Rivers Project will significantly improve mobility between Louisville and Southern Indiana once completed. It is a cooperative effort by Kentucky and Indiana and includes the Downtown Crossing (construction of a new bridge for northbound Interstate 65, renovation and reconfiguration of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge for southbound I-65 traffic, and rebuilding of downtown interchanges in Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind.) and the East End Crossing (a new bridge and approaches to connect the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky with the Lee Hamilton Highway in Southern Indiana.)  Construction is expected to be completed with all Project elements open to traffic before the end of 2016.