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Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project Team Recommends Innovations to Reconnect Communities and Improve Safety

CINCINNATI, OH — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announce that a new “street grid” reconnecting downtown Cincinnati to Queensgate and reduced impacts to Goebel Park in Covington are among seven major innovations to enhance the $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge Corridor (BSBC) Project based on engineering evaluations and public feedback.

The recommended design refinements meet or exceed the contract objectives of improving quality, reducing costs, shortening schedule, improving safety, and/or supporting local communities. More than 100 suggestions submitted to the project team from the public, key local stakeholders, and the design-build team were evaluated based on objectives.

“These thoughts and ideas will make the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor even better,” DeWine said. “These enhancements aren’t just about reducing congestion on an interstate, it’s about improving safety, reconnecting communities, and enhancing the lives of those who live, work, and visit the area."

“These innovations are a key part of continuing the transformational changes we’re making to boost Kentucky’s economy and ensure a higher quality of life here and beyond our borders,” Beshear said. “They are a testament to the collaboration, teamwork, and goals each state shares to build a better corridor while fulfilling our good neighbor pledge."

Ohio Refinements
The project team improved the project in Ohio with four innovative refinements.

First, the project team will free up an additional acre for development or green space by moving southbound I-75 to the western edge of the corridor. In addition, this move allows the roadway to be constructed while minimizing disruptions to traffic on existing southbound I-75. The extra acre for development or green space is in addition to the 9.5 acres that were freed up in November 2022, bringing the total to nearly 11 acres.

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Second, to reconnect the downtown Cincinnati street grid with Queensgate, a new intersection will be added at West Ninth and Gest streets, and improvements will be made at the intersection of West Seventh and Gest streets. The project also includes extending West Fifth and West Sixth streets across I-75 to Queensgate. Finally, the West Fifth extension will enable the roadway to connect with Gest in the future. This design will improve safety for pedestrians and those using the shared use path by shortening the distance across I-75 and reducing the speed limit.

“As I walked the neighborhood west of downtown with Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval and his team last year, we discussed ways to improve the city and the need to connect neighborhoods previously divided by the interstate,” Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks said. “Our team really rose to the occasion and is making that happen.”

Third, the project team plans to combine the I-75 southbound ramps to 2nd and 3rd streets, which will reduce both costs and the project footprint.

Finally, the project team will reconfigure the U.S. 50 lanes, which will improve safety and traffic flow for the east-west connection.

Kentucky Refinements
Three significant design improvements are planned in Northern Kentucky.

“From our earlier commitments to separate stormwater systems and pilot Kentucky's first transparent noise screens, these latest innovations are further proof we're listening to input and refining the project to make it even better,” Kentucky Transportation Department Secretary Jim Gray said.

The first innovation lowers the profile of the interstate by as much as 30 feet between Ninth Street and the new companion bridge, addressing a visibility concern raised by Covington residents during the environmental phase of the project. The height reduction is achieved by shifting the southbound ramp to the local roadway network a few hundred feet to the south, aligning the exit ramp on the east side of the interstate and closing the local Fifth Street roadway between Crescent Avenue and Philadelphia Street. In doing so, Fifth Street traffic will be redistributed to Third Street, allowing for a gateway intersection to be constructed at Crescent and Third.

Second, entrance locations to the interstate system are being adjusted to line up more like they are today near Pike Street. This change addresses concerns raised during the environmental phase about increased traffic changing the residential character of Ninth Street.

And finally, the interstate alignment through the "cut in the hill" just south of Covington will be shifted to the east to eliminate the need for significant excavation of the rock embankment and construction of a retaining wall. This will significantly reduce costs and improve the construction schedule.

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