Changes made to Brent Spence Bridge project to align with public’s requests

Changes made to Brent Spence Bridge project to align with public’s requests

CINCINNATI — Governors Andy Beshear and Mike DeWine announced on Friday new changes to the Brent Spence Bridge corridor project.

The changes don’t apply to the bridge itself but rather the way roadways and highways on either side of the Ohio River flow around and toward the bridge and its planned companion bridge.

According to a press release from KYTC and ODOT, the design changes are the result of over 100 suggestions submitted to the project team by the public, local stakeholders and the design-build team at Walsh Kokosing.

In all, seven new changes were highlighted in the announcement — some on the Ohio side of the river, some in Kentucky.

In Ohio, four changes will be made in an attempt to free up green space and better connect the Queensgate neighborhood. The plan to accomplish that includes moving the southbound side of I-75 to the western edge of the corridor, which officials said allows for minimal traffic disruption while freeing up an additional acre of green space.

BSBC Project

That’s in addition to the 9.5 acres freed by the plan crafted in 2022 — so, in total, the project will create 11 acres of green space re-claimed for Cincinnati.

To better connect Queensgate, the new plan aims to create a more intentional street grid formation. That involves adding a new intersection at West Ninth and Gest Streets and improving the intersection at West Seventh and Gest. In addition, the project will extend West Fifth and West Sixth Streets across I-75 to connect in Queensgate at Gest.

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BSBC Project

“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,” said Jack Marchbanks, director of ODOT, in a press release.

In addition, the project will combine the southbound ramps from I-75 to Second and Third Streets, which officials said will reduce the cost of the project and its overall footprint.

The team also plans to reconfigure US-50, combining the east and west lanes into one roadway, rather than the split configuration seen in places now.

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BSBC Project

In Kentucky, there are three major changes to the bridge corridor’s design, specifically to reduce impact the project will have on Northern Kentucky neighborhoods.

First, the highway’s profile will be lowered by around 30 feet between Ninth Street and the new companion bridge, to help address visibility concerns expressed by residents of Covington.

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KYTC

“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,” said Jim Gray, KYTC director, in a press release.

Next, entrances to the highways will be adjusted to line up more with where they are now near Pike Street, officials said. This is to help reduce impact of increased traffic in residential areas of Ninth Street, according to the press release.

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KYTC

That, in turn, minimizes the impacts on Goebel Park.

Finally, officials said the interstate alignment through Cut in the Hill will “be shifted to the east to eliminate the need for significant excavation of the rock embankment and construction of a retaining wall.” That change helps lower the cost of the project and speeds up the construction schedule, officials said.

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KYTC

According to the press release, Walsh Kokosing has spent the last year evaluating 117 suggested changes to the original base plan for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project. At this point, 26 of those are recommended to be incorporated into the end design; 24 suggestions were dismissed because they were not feasible, or didn’t meet the project’s objectives. The remaining 67 suggestions are still under review, officials said.

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