Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor (BSBC) project?

A: The BSBC project includes five miles of roadway improvements on I-71/75 in Kentucky, three miles of roadway improvements on I-75 in Ohio, a new companion bridge to the west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge (BSB), and updates to the existing BSB. Roadway improvements include interstate reconstruction, widening and reconfiguration of multiple interchanges.

Q: Why is the project important?

A: 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 one of the worst truck bottlenecks 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.

Q: When will the project start and end?

A: Construction is expected to begin in late 2024. Substantial completion is expected by 2029.

To that end, the project team has completed these steps:

  • Completed and signed an Interstate Cooperative Agreement outlining how Kentucky and Ohio will work together to complete the project;
  • Released the Request for Proposals (RFP) in January 2023;
  • Announced the selection of the Walsh Kokosing as the design-build team for the project in July 2023.

As of August 2023, the project team has prioritized the following next steps:

  • Continue proactive public involvement efforts, including neighborhood meetings and surveying, e-newsletter communications, advisory committee meetings, public comment review and response, public open house updates in August 2023, and public hearings in December 2023/January 2024; and
  • Once the progressive design-build team is under contract, begin 60-day Innovation Period to look for opportunities to refine and improve the project further.
  • Finalization of a supplemental Environmental Assessment in February 2024.

Q: How much is the project expected to cost?

A: The current anticipated project cost is $3.6 billion, which will be shared by each state. The costs associated with the companion bridge and existing BSB will be split 50/50 by Ohio and Kentucky, and each state will pay for the approach work on their respective end of the bridges. The current estimates for each state are $2.0 billion for Ohio and $1.6 billion for Kentucky.

Q: What is the status of funding for the BSBC?

A: Elected officials announced in December of 2022 that $1.635 billion from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would be awarded to the project, giving the green light to move toward construction. The Kentucky General Assembly has passed, and Gov. Beshear has signed, a budget bill that included funding required to fulfill state match commitments. Ohio is using a combination of transportation program funding and bonds to pay for its portion of the project.

Q: What will happen to the existing Brent Spence Bridge once the new companion bridge is built to the west of the current structure?

A: The existing Brent Spence Bridge will remain in service. The bridge is safe and structurally sound and will serve a critical transportation need for decades to come. Current planning and traffic analyses indicate that additional capacity is needed to support more efficient national, regional, and local travel for drivers who use I-71/75. The existing bridge would be used to carry the local traffic entering and/or exiting the interstate in Cincinnati and/or Covington thus separating local from regional and national travel across the river. This separation would improve safety and support better access to the Covington and Cincinnati business districts.

Q: How will my travel be impacted during construction?

A: Exact traffic plans have not been finalized. Once a contractor has been selected for the project and design plans have been completed, a detailed traffic plan will be developed and publicized. As with any construction project, traffic impacts, road closures and delays are expected to maintain a safe work zone.

Q: Does the public have an opportunity to provide feedback to the project team on the project?

A: Yes. ODOT and KYTC are fully committed to robust public involvement to gain insights and receive feedback as part of the project development process. Multiple neighborhood meetings were held in communities adjacent to the project corridor in December 2022, and public hearings will be held in February 2024.

In addition, questions and comments regarding the project can be submitted on the project website, BrentSpenceBridgeCorridor.com.

ODOT and KYTC have engaged in thorough public involvement since the inception of the project and have worked closely with local partners to incorporate changes to the project. Changes have already substantially reduced the impact to local municipalities, invested in underserved populations on both sides of the river, and returned 10 acres of developable land for local use.

Q: Are members of the community actively engaged in the project?

A: Yes. Stakeholder committees have been formed to support the public engagement process. Stakeholders serve a critical role, bringing valuable input from their constituents to the project team and serving as advocates for the project in their communities.

To date, three committees have been established: the Project Advisory Committee, the Aesthetics Committee, and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Q: How are community priorities being addressed in the project?

A: The BSBC project brings the opportunity to address shared community priorities by:

  • Reconnecting communities through multimodal and pedestrian-friendly improvements
  • Returning public land for local use
  • Separating local and through traffic to improve safety and support better access to the Covington and Cincinnati business districts
  • Honoring local requests to separate highway stormwater runoff from the combined sewer system
  • Investing in much-needed quality-of-life amenities in urban communities within the corridor
  • Providing aesthetic features that establish a more dynamic sense of place in urban neighborhoods
  • Investing in bike, pedestrian, and roadway connections in both Cincinnati and
  • Covington that will enhance connections between the east and west sides of the freeway and will accommodate the recent RAISE and INFRA investments in the City of Cincinnati
  • Continuing public engagement as project plans are refined
    • Two public hearings will be conducted in February 2024
    • BrentSpenceBridgeCorridor.com provides project information and opportunity to submit feedback.

Q: Will there be opportunities to work on the project?

A: Yes. The BSBC project will be shared by the entire community. It represents a historic federal investment in our region, and as such brings the opportunity for unprecedented involvement. This includes participation by small, minority, and women-owned businesses that are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms in Ohio and Kentucky, as well as tremendous workforce development opportunities for all.

The DBE goal for Phase 1 of the BSBC project is nine percent, and the draft target for Phase 2 is seven percent, which will be established closer to construction. The project also has an On-the-Job (OJT) training target of 15 percent, which will also be established closer to construction.

Q: How is the project team managing the supply chain and other economic uncertainties?

A: To offset the uncertainties in today’s construction market, including inflation and supply chain pricing and availability, the project team has made the decision to move forward with Progressive Design Build Procurement, which will allow the Owners (ODOT and KYTC) and the Design Build Team (Design Firm and Contractors) to price materials closer to when they actually will be used for construction.

The Design Build Team will be selected based on qualifications while considering their pricing approach rather than qualifications and just a fixed or lowest bidder price. This approach also allows the project team to work collaboratively on the preferred alternative with the Design Build Team to identify cost-effective solutions that meet the goals of the project and community. It also brings more certainty to the project delivery process and eliminates several variables for those seeking to bid on the project.

The decision to move forward with the Progressive Design Build Procurement will allow ODOT and KYTC to meet the goal of having a Design Build Team selected in 2023 and project groundbreaking in late 2024.

Q: What if I have more questions and want additional information about the project?

A: Questions and comments regarding the project can be submitted on the project website, BrentSpenceBridgeCorridor.com.