Ky. study calls for new bridge to Ohio

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Updated Nov 18, 2020

New Kentucky BridgeKentucky transportation officials are calling for a new bridge between their state and Ohio to improve safety on Interstates 71 and 75.

The recommendation is the result of a recent study by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The study recommends the new bridge be in addition to the Brent Spence Bridge. That bridge is now carrying double its daily 80,000-vehicle capacity, the commission says.

“This study confirms what many already suspected – a new bridge is needed, as well as improvements to I-71/75 to address the explosive economic growth along this important transportation corridor,” said Governor Matt Bevin. “It is also imperative that we stay focused on the economic development potential of a bypass. To that end, I am requesting that a planning study for the Kentucky portion of an eastern bypass be included in the next highway plan.”

The study says the existing Spence Bridge is structurally sound and, with a new bridge, it would support traffic flow. A new bridge would cost $2.3 billion to $2.6 billion, assuming it opened in 2024. The double-deck bridge would consist of six lanes for I-75 northbound and southbound, two lanes for I-71 south and three lanes for local southbound traffic. The existing Spence Bridge would carry two lanes of I-71 north and three lanes of local northbound traffic, according to the study. The new configuration would also make drivers choose routes before reaching the bridge rather than while on the bridge, which is currently the case.

The study also concluded that an eastern bypass in Kentucky should be further studied to improve traffic flow and safety as well as boost economic development. And it recommended additional improvements to Interstate 275 for traffic to and from the Brent Spence Corridor. This would include widening I-71/75 from Turfway Road north to the Brent Spence Bridge project, at a cost of $289 million to $399 million.