December 15, 2012
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed an agreement that describes in broad terms how their two states will cooperatively build a new bridge over the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington. While the exact structure type is still to be determined, the selected roadway alternative for the long-awaited bridge is a two-deck span that would carry all of Interstate 75, plus southbound lanes of I-71 and three southbound lanes of local traffic. It would be adjacent to, and greatly reduce the load now being shouldered by, the Brent Spence Bridge. The two-deck Brent Spence Bridge, which opened on Nov. 25, 1963, today carries the entire load of both I-71 and I-75 and two-way local traffic. Though structurally sound, it is classified as "functionally obsolete" because of its narrow lanes, absence of emergency shoulders and limited visibility on its lower deck. Under the selected alternative design, the Brent Spence would undergo renovation and remain in service to carry two northbound lanes of I-71 on its upper deck and three lanes of northbound local traffic on its lower deck. Preliminary design work has been completed, as has a federally required environmental assessment. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Ohio Department of Transportation will formally establish a Bi-State Management Team to jointly oversee the project. The team will be responsible for evaluating procurement options, preparing a Major Project Initial Financial Plan required by FHWA, procuring professional services when needed, maintaining a project website and managing public relations.