Ohio Department of Transportation District 8 Capital Programs Administrator
Stefan Spinosa understands the gravity of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project (BSBC) like few others ever could.
He first became acquainted with the Brent Spence Bridge more than three decades ago. Shortly after moving to Cincinnati from his native Columbus for his first after-college job with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), one of Spinosa’s first tasks was to take part in an annual inspection of the bridge, working jointly with counterparts from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Spinosa can still vividly recall climbing around on the catwalk underneath the span, with only a few inches of steel separating him from a 70-plus-foot plunge into the Ohio River.
It would hardly be the last time the Brent Spence Bridge would be the focus of Spinosa’s work. In 2004, he was named the project manager for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor, which ultimately set The Ohio State University product on a course to execute the largest infrastructure project in the history of our region.
“There’s a lot of challenges we’ve had to overcome to get to where we are today to be ready to start work on the project – a lot of interactions with the communities, a lot of interaction with our partners in Kentucky,” Spinosa says. “So the excitement is just being able to work on a project with all of these people that you’re dealing with on a daily basis and solving a problem that is benefiting the community.”
Now the capital programs administrator for ODOT District 8, Spinosa oversees a team of professionals in the District’s Planning, Engineering, and Construction Offices that are responsible for cradle to grave capital project management of District’s 4,000 lane miles of pavement, 1,500 bridges, and 6,500 culverts. He is wrapping up his Brent Spence Bridge responsibilities after putting together the contract for the progressive design-build team, as well as managing an army of consultants to make sure things have stayed on schedule and budget. The uniqueness of the BSBC makes Spinosa something of a trailblazer.
“This is a new process for us, the way we’re delivering a majority of this work, so I’m looking forward to learning new things,” Spinosa says. “We’re going to be cutting new ground for the Department of Transportation. We’ve never done a project like this.”
A lifelong learner, Spinosa says he got into engineering because of his love for solving problems. And there are plenty of puzzles for Spinosa to solve as he and his team figure out how to take on the biggest challenge of their careers.
“I think it’s important for the public to know that we’re still not completely sure how we’re going to build it,” Spinosa says. “We’re still working on that. We’re still seeking input on those kinds of things – what are the impacts? What do we need to be aware of? I’m hopeful the public will continue to give us comments and let us know what’s important to them so that we can address their concerns.”
When he’s not working on the largest infrastructure project in the history of the Greater Cincinnati region, Spinosa enjoys coaching high school boys’ lacrosse. He also enjoys history, and says if not for his career in engineering, he likely would have become a history teacher.
“I like learning about the past so we don’t make mistakes over again,” he says.