- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Two southern Indiana communities and local tourism officials are preparing to launch a radio ad campaign aimed at drawing Kentucky residents across the Ohio River by alleviating their fears about traffic delays caused by ongoing work on the region’s bridges.

The Clarksville Town Council, the Jeffersonville City Council and the Clark-Floyd Convention and Tourism Bureau are sharing the $90,000 cost of the one-year ad campaign in hopes of attracting Kentucky residents across the river to Clark County businesses.

Tourism Bureau executive director Jim Epperson said the ads will counter what he calls Kentucky residents’ unfounded belief that traffic delays caused by the construction work are making it too inconvenient to cross the Interstate 65 bridge and shop in Clark County.

A new bridge that will link Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville is going up alongside the existing I-65 Kennedy Bridge, which is also being renovated. That construction work has narrowed I-65 from three lanes to two in both north and southbound directions from the Kennedy Bridge to Brown’s Station Way in Clarksville.

Some residents have called those traffic delays the “big squeeze.”

Jeffersonville Councilman Mike Smith said the radio campaign is still in the works, but it will send Kentucky residents the message that southern Indiana is open for business, the News and Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1AhT0RS ).

Smith said the ongoing bridge construction has caused uncertainty for Kentucky residents who may be less motivated to patronize Clark County restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

“Every day there are lane changes, and it is confusing,” he said of Jeffersonville’s traffic patterns. “I think a lot of people are confused or scared of getting over here and getting turned around, or stranded. It has affected a lot of businesses, not just in Jeffersonville.”

Clarksville Town Councilman John Gilkey called the upcoming radio ads “a good first step” toward combatting the impression that it’s difficult to get across the I-65 bridge and encouraging Kentucky residents to buy goods and services in southern Indiana.

He said Clarksville’s town council has also discussed possibly working with area businesses to get them to incorporate in their advertising the message that the bridge traffic isn’t so bad.

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Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., https://www.newsandtribune.com

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