Covington scoffs at new Brent Spence Bridge plans

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Northern Kentucky leaders are calling on the public to make sure the new bridge gives drivers direct access to Covington. Regional transportation leaders have chosen a preferred plan for reconstructing the portion of I-75 that runs the length of the Brent Spence Bridge, and beyond.

The Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments says the plan is less expensive than other alternatives and is better for the environment and will have the least impact on nearby homes and businesses.

The 7.9 mile reconstruction would start just north of the Western Hills Viaduct and end a mile south of Dixie Highway in Fort Mitchell. The biggest difference between this plan and the others that were considered is it would preserve access to Covington from I-75 south, but eliminate a major off ramp - namely Fifth Street.  "I work off of people. The people make my paycheck here," said Willie's Sports Cafe bartender, Jason Babbott. "Without the people there's no pay."

Through traffic on I-75 will use the old Brent Spence Bridge. The new span will carry local traffic across the Ohio River with no direct access to Covington's riverfront. "The travelers, they're going to be exiting up at Kyle's Lane," said Covington City Commissioner, Steve Frank. "They won't come back to Covington."

Several businesses will be affected including Liquor City on Fourth Street. "To have our customers from Ohio to go across the river to have to go up there to Kyle's Lane and have to turn around and come back down here, its going to hurt business," said store manager, Mike Brown.

Commissioner Frank says that Plan E's proposed bridge project is nothing but a dead end for Covington. "(It) must die. Must kill it. There is no mercy where I am concerned," said Frank.

The final public meetings with federal officials will be held Tuesday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Longworth Hall in Cincinnati and Wednesday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

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