The study is out. Let’s focus on a comprehensive solution.
There are quite a few takeaways regarding the Brent Spence Bridge shutdown of November 2020. Let’s look at the facts and move our region forward.
  • The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor and I71/75 are critical to our region and the nation and it neteds attention.
  • It highlights some of the impacts of regional through trucks, especially those carrying Hazardous Materials.
  • There is tremendous value in having functional redundant systems. It is not just about one bridge, there are multiple weaknesses along the I75 corridor as demonstrated in Atlanta with the I85 in Atlanta with an overpass.
  • The impact of diversion in Covington was highlighted by high through traffic, overloading the Roebling Suspension Bridge, trapping trucks in areas with low clearances, and reducing small business activity. I275 and I471 have highlighted that diversion will cause gridlock on these routes, even with much less traffic due to Covid.
Problem Definition
The problem is our largest transportation arteries are congested and getting worse, including I-75, I-71, I-471, and I-275. Our region’s transportation challenges are not just at the Brent Spence Bridge.
Key Facts
  • The current Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Solution is over-designed. The massive footprint burdens Covington and is extremely expensive. It is designed for 232,910 daily vehicle crossings in 2035, while the 2017 KYTC study only projects 174,200 in 2040.
  • KYTC has identified $5.5B in future interstate widening on I-71/75 and I-471, not including I-275.
  • The current toll proposals include Kentucky state guarantees of revenue via availability payments through a public private partnership. With the significant change in traffic projections, the state may already be tremendously short of its proposed obligation.
  • Tolling on the Brent Spence Bridge will cause diversion from the Brent Spence Bridge. Per KYTC, a $2 toll at the bridge will divert 77,000 vehicles to alternative routes.
  • The Cincy Eastern Bypass will alleviate traffic on all highways especially the Brent Spence Bridge. It is estimated to generate 208,000 jobs and increase property value by $27 Billion within just 2 miles of the Bypass Route.
  • The Bypass opportunity is only available for a limited time. The route is planned through Warren County, between the Dayton and Cincinnati Metropolitan areas. If it is not planned and built soon, new development will stymie the opportunity.
Proposed Solution: Design, Fund, and Build New I-75 Corridor Improvement Project
  • Build the Bypass.
  • Right-size the Brent Spence Bridge solution to the new traffic forecasts, including traffic benefits from the Bypass.
  • Adjust the remainder of I-75/71 and I-471 through Kentucky as necessary. This should be minimal with the benefits of the Bypass.
  • Political alignment towards one solution is building and meeting very little resistance.
  • RightThere is significant reduction to bridge construction congestion on existing highways due to a reduced scope and additional capacity from the Bypass.
  • Tax Increment Financing could be used along the Bypass route.
  • Toll Revenue could be collected well outside of downtown, thus incentivizing regional through traffic to other routes, without changing local traffic patterns.
  • We can save $800M and open up tremendous economic opportunity for the region.
Further Reading
  • Interim improvements for the Brent Spence Bridge - 2019 KYTC Texas Turnaround Interchange Modification Report
  • Check out page 10 for the original traffic projections and 47-52 to learn more about Toll Diversion (this is also where the graphics come from for the primary page) - KYTC 2013 Brent Spence Bridge Options Analysis
  • The most current information including new traffic projections and information on the bypass. - KYTC 2017 Brent Spence Strategic Corridor Study