Study shows 2 funding options for new Brent Spence Bridge

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) released a study of options for a new Ohio River bridge between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

The report identifies two options Kentucky and Ohio could consider as the states continue their work to hammer out a funding plan for building the new bridge.

The options analysis examined four procurement methods in terms of cost factors, schedule benefits and market conditions, among others.

Officials say the following two delivery models represented the most attractive potential options for ODOT and KYTC:

  • Design-Build – An approach whereby the states finance the project through a possible combination of federal, state, federal loan and bond funding. Following a request for proposal, contractors respond with designs and plans and the selected contractor builds the project.  Repayment of loans and bonds would be made through the collection of tolls.
  • Availability Payment Concession – A contractor finances and builds the project and is repaid on a regular schedule over many years.  This repayment of financing the project is by the collection of tolls.

The project involves constructing a second bridge directly to the west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge to increase safety and relieve some traffic congestion along Interstates 71 and 75.

KYTC says the existing bridge would be renovated to improve safety, visibility and other deficiencies.

Nearly eight miles of highway – approximately five in Northern Kentucky and three in Ohio – would also be improved to accommodate the enhanced bridge.

The two-deck Brent Spence Bridge, which opened 50 years ago, carries both interstate highways across the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington, Ky.

The bridge is structurally sound but classified "functionally obsolete" because of its narrow lanes, absence of emergency shoulders and limited visibility on its lower deck.

The study ultimately eliminated two other finance and delivery models:

  • Design-Bid-Build – Traditional approach in which the state transportation agency designs a project and submits it for bids. A contractor is selected and builds the project.  Necessary funding for construction is obtained through traditional sources of federal and state funds.
  • Toll Revenue Concession – A contractor finances and builds the project and recoups its costs exclusively through toll revenue.  Funding for design, construction, maintenance and operation of the project is provided by the private partner.

According to a Texas Transportation Institute Study, motorists waste 3.6 million hours of their time and 1.6 million gallons of fuel simply by sitting in traffic on the current Brent Spence Bridge each year.

Further, more than 3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product – or $417 billion – crosses the bridge each year and that number is expected to grow to $830 billion by 2030.

The complete study and other documents about the project can be accessed at

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