Governors DeWine and Beshear Reveal Revamped Plans that Shrink Brent Spence Corridor

Friday July 15, 2022

COLUMBUS – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear today revealed updated bridge maps detailing new lane configurations and revamped plans to deliver the regionally-transformative Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project with fewer property impacts.

”It has been important from the beginning to make sure we’re meeting the needs of today and tomorrow while also being mindful about the impacts this project has on surrounding properties,” said Gov. DeWine. “I will continue to challenge our teams to look for additional ways to further these goals.”

“While this is a nationally significant project, it is still very much a community-minded project,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our teams have gone to great lengths to shrink property impacts while still delivering a solid solution to the traffic congestion issues in the region.”

The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law earlier this year provided a once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity to forge ahead on the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) began a thorough review of former plans for a second bridge, as well as improvements to the entire eight-mile corridor between the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio and Dixie Highway in Kentucky.

Revised plans for new companion bridge show dramatically reduced footprint

In 2012, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved a plan for a new companion bridge to the west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge that will address capacity and mobility issues that have plagued interstate traffic using I-71/75 to cross the Ohio River between Ohio and Kentucky.

Based on significant community engagement, as well as a thorough technical analysis, the footprint of the new bridge has been significantly reduced from the alternative approved in 2012. Initial plans included two 14-foot shoulders on each deck of the new bridge and expanded shoulder widths on the existing bridge. The new bridge was planned to cover nearly 25 acres and span nearly 150 feet in width. Revised plans show the new bridge at almost half the size of the 2012 footprint – covering approximately 14 acres and 84 feet in width. Updated maps show widened emergency shoulders on the existing Brent Spence Bridge to safely stow stalled vehicles, and 12-foot shoulders are provided on the new companion bridge. Additionally, interstate and local traffic are separated – the new companion structure will carry I-71/75 traffic; local traffic will use the existing Brent Spence Bridge.

“We felt good about where we were a decade ago because that solution provided additional capacity that reduces congestion and improves travel throughout the corridor,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “We feel even better about this revision because it dramatically reduces the footprint of the new bridge and completely separates interstate and local traffic.”

With the exception of one commercial property, some railroad-owned land, and the negotiation of two utility owned properties, all parcels needed for the project have been acquired on the Ohio side of the project.

“For decades, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has completed ongoing maintenance work to ensure the safety and long-term viability of the Brent Spence Bridge,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “The Brent Spence plays a critical role in the solution being put forward and we are excited that our partners in Covington and other local municipalities in Kentucky have voiced their support for our current plan.”

In Kentucky, right of way activities have been divided into two categories – impacts north of 12th Street and impacts south of 12th Street. In both sections, the number of impacted parcels was reduced significantly following the 2022 plan revisions. In the southern portion, there are 38 impacted properties- one of which is a residential relocation; all property owners in the area have been contacted. Plans in the northern section are still being reviewed.

BrentSpenceBridgeCorridor.com source for project information

While bridge construction tends to be the public focus of the project, the bridge project only accounts for approximately one-third of the corridor project. The bi-state project team has launched a new website to provide information about the full corridor and to keep the public up to date on current planning and progress. BrentSpenceBridgeCorridor.com provides detailed information on interstate plans in Ohio, Kentucky, and both river crossings. Those interested in receiving regular project updates are encouraged to sign up for regular email updates to receive information on project status.

The project team is currently working on a second federal grant application that will be submitted by Aug. 9, and will continue to work with project partners on refining current plans, which call for breaking ground by the fall of 2023.

About the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project

Fueled by bipartisan cooperation and community engagement, the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project will invest in local communities and help grow America’s economy. Spanning eight miles between the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio and Dixie Highway in Kentucky, the project will address the second-worst truck bottleneck in the nation by improving safety and travel on the interstate connection that carries more than $700 billion worth of freight every year.

In addition, the project will improve access to the central business districts of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky, and will also support local businesses and underserved communities in historic neighborhoods on both sides of the river. Ohio and Kentucky are working together to deliver this transformative project that will improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans who use the federal highway system to travel between the two states and beyond.