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Kentucky said Thursday it is seeking qualifications from firms to build the downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project, with a goal of awarding work in October.

Meanwhile, Indiana plans to seek the same information from companies interested in an eastern bridge and its roadways around March 9.

The states’ announcements are the latest steps in moving toward construction of the estimated $2.6 billion plan for two new spans between Louisville and Clark County, Ind., and a rebuilt Spaghetti Junction interchange, where Interstates 64, 65 and 71 meet near downtown.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has scheduled a pre-bid meeting for contractors for next Thursday at the Kentucky International Convention Center. About 500 people have registered, according to the state.

Indiana is to host a similar informational meeting at the convention center next Friday.

Kentucky plans to pursue a design-build approach for the downtown segment, a strategy in which the design and construction phases are part of a single contract.

Indiana expects to use “availability payments,” in which a company is awarded a long-term contract to do all of the work, including financing the project up front. The state then pays the contractor a series of “availability payments” once the road is open.

The states envision tolls on both the new downtown and eastern bridges.

Information on Kentucky’s request for qualifications can be seen at transportation.ky.gov/Ohio-River-Bridges/Pages/default.aspx.

Article source: http://feeds.stateline.org/~r/StatelineorgRss-Transportation/~3/mYdvpDE2jFI/ohio-river-bridges-project