Kentucky & Indiana (K&I) Bridge -- Louisville KY-New Albany IN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 38° 16.929 W 085° 48.082
16S E 604833 N 4237800
Quick Description: The 2nd K&I Interurban RR bridge was built in 1912 across the Ohio River, connecting New Albany KY with Floyd Co. IN. It also formerly handled automobile traffic along US Hwy 31W, the Dixie Highway.
Location: Kentucky, United States
Date Posted: 2/23/2022 4:29:13 PM
Waymark Code: WM15TG8
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member SearchN
Views: 2

Long Description:
This elegant railroad bridge with a swing span was built in 1911 for the Kentucky & Indiana (K&I) RR , which operated an Interurban railway service between the cities of New Albany IN and Louisville KY over a previous bridge built in 1885. The 1911 bridge was expanded for use by cars, and was used to carry US Hwy 31W over the Ohio River into Louisville, along the Dixie Highway.

Although the Interurban railway use is long discontinued, and car traffic was banned in 1979, the bridge still serves these communities in 2022 as a railroad bridge.

From Wikipedia: (visit link)

"The Kentucky & Indiana Bridge is one of the first multi modal bridges to cross the Ohio River. It is for both railway and common roadway purposes together. By federal, state, and local law railway and streetcar, wagon-way, and pedestrian modes of travel were intended by the City of New Albany, City of Louisville, State of Kentucky, State of Indiana, the United States Congress, and the bridge owners. The K & I Bridge connects Louisville, Kentucky to New Albany, Indiana.

. . .

Alignment with the national heritage of the United States

The alignment of the K & I is along America's ancient roads known as the Great Buffalo Trace and Wilderness Road. Early Americans crossed at the limestone and coral rapids for 8,000 years. This strategic location has the only waterfall cascade on the 1,000 mile Ohio & Mississippi River. The location of the K & I is of enormous historic and sentimental importance and reflects the pioneer roots in our national destiny. America can commemorate the eighteenth-century migration of hundreds of thousands of settlers into Kentucky and Indiana via the Buffalo Traces by reopening the footpath across the Kentucky and Indiana Bridge. Today, some 48 million Americans have ancestors who moved through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky and Indiana along these pioneer trails.

In Louisville, this route offered the most rapid connection to U.S. Highway 150 or Dixie Highway heading southwest and Lexington Road heading southwest. In Indiana between Vincennes and New Albany, the road follows the original route of the Buffalo Trace.

In 1910 the bridge company was renamed the Kentucky & Indiana Terminal Railroad Co. From 1910 to 1912, a new, heavier bridge was built on new piers just upstream from the original one, after which the old bridge was demolished. The new bridge was double tracked to handle increasingly heavier train and now automobile traffic, eventually receiving the U.S. 31W designation.

The bridge also featured a rotating swing span opening for the passage of ships in high water. The bridge was only opened four times, twice for testing in 1913 and 1915, then in 1916 for the passage of the steamer "Tarascon" and in 1920 for passage of the Australian convict ship "Success". In 1948 it refused opening of the span for passage of the steamer "Gordon C. Greene" citing inconvenience and costs of cutting power and communication lines, an action for which K&I and LG&E both paid damages to that ship's company. In 1955 the K&I sought and received permission to permanently tie down the swing span from the Corps of Engineers. In 1952, creosoted wood block roadways of the second bridge were eliminated and replaced by a steel gridwork roadway.""

And from the Three Bridges blog, which has a K&I bridge flyer showing its part of the Dixie Highway (Last photo): (visit link)

"K & I Bridge Built in 1886 and rebuilt in 1911

The first K & I Bridge connecting Louisville and New Albany was constructed from 1881 to 1885 and opened in 1886. Originally, it included a single track and two wagon ways allowing wagons and other animal powered vehicles to cross the river other than by ferry. Motorized vehicles were virtually nonexistent.

Upon opening, the bridge company also offered the Daisy Line, an early steam locomotive commuter train service. (cars were painted yellow with brown trimming, resembling a black-eyed susan, hence the name). In 1893 the Daisy Line trains became electrified, the first steam to electric conversion in the U.S., even preceded the electrification of the famous Chicago's 'L' trains by two years.

Passengers traveled in multi-unit three-car elevated electric trains from 1st, 4th and 7th Street elevated stations plus other stations between Louisville and New Albany. This rapid transit service was wildly popular, with its 15 minute service and convenient schedules from 6am to midnight. By 1906 a survey found 3,425 commuter passengers crossing daily and 1,250,000 per year on these rapid electric trains. The last commuter train crossed the K & I Bridge in December, 1945.

In 1910 the bridge company was renamed the Kentucky & Indiana Terminal Railroad Co. From 1910 to 1911, the bridge was rebuilt and double tracked to handle increasingly heavier train and now automobile traffic,

The bridge also featured a rotating swing span opening for the passage of ships in high water. The bridge was only opened four times, twice for testing in 1913 and 1915, then in 1916 for the passage of the steamer "Tarascon" and in 1920 for passage of the Australian convict ship "Success". In 1955 the K&I sought and received permission to permanently tie down the swing span from the Corps of Engineers.

In 1979, an overweight dump truck caused a small segment of the steel grate roadway to sag about 1 foot. Workers quickly repaired the roadway deck but automotive traffic was banned thereafter by the bridge owner."
Americana: Other

Significant Interest: Bridge

Milestone or Marker: Other

Web Site Address: [Web Link]

Physical Address:
Portland Wharf Park
719 N 32nd St.
Louisville, KY


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Benchmark Blasterz visited Kentucky & Indiana (K&I) Bridge -- Louisville KY-New Albany IN 2/24/2022 Benchmark Blasterz visited it