Brent Spence Bridge corridor project hits another milestone

May 27, 2022

Tyson Fisher


After a fiery truck crash reignited discussions about addressing the Brent Spence Bridge corridor, Kentucky and Ohio continue to advance the improvement project, turning discussions that began nearly two decades ago into a reality.

Moving forward with the Brent Spence Bridge corridor improvement project, the Ohio Department of Transportation is requesting proposals from consultants to “support contract administration, public outreach, project management, and control tasks necessary to manage the eventual design-build project,” according to a news release.

ODOT and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s joint announcement is another leap forward for improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge corridor. In 2004, Kentucky and Ohio governors and transportation leaders signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the replacement of the bridge. Since then, both states have conducted numerous studies looking into the possibilities. However, movement toward the finish line has been sluggish.

A preferred alternative for a new companion bridge along the Brent Spence Bridge corridor was approved in 2012. However, neither state could get the ball rolling on the project.

In November 2020, the Brent Spence Bridge was shut down for six weeks after a crash involving two trucks caused a fire.

The crash occurred at 2:45 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2020, after a truck jackknifed while traveling north on the Brent Spence Bridge. A truck hauling potassium hydroxide crashed into the jackknifed truck. Hundreds of gallons of spilled diesel caught on fire on the bridge. No one was killed in the crash.

The weekslong closure emphasized the need for a companion bridge that has been a talking point for years. It was enough to finally get the ball rolling for the Brent Spence Bridge corridor project.

According to a news release, the Brent Spence Bridge corridor project includes improvements to approximately 8 miles of highway and the addition of a companion bridge on the west side of the existing bridge. Both states claim the additional capacity will alleviate congestion and improve safety. Current plans also call for the separation of local and interstate traffic, which will improve access to local businesses and communities in Covington and Cincinnati.

Transportation officials say the bridge is part of a nationally significant freight corridor, which carries an estimated 3% of the nation’s GDP annually.

Kentucky and Ohio will evenly split the nearly $3 billion bill. Although the states are preparing to foot the bill, both are seeking federal funding. Since the 2020 crash, the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure deal has opened up funding from the federal government.

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