Expansion project could transform NKY roadways

Project to improve NKY roads, economy

NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - Everywhere you look and drive, it's not hard to find some road work going on around the Tri-State this time of year.

But in a small part of northern Kentucky, there's a project going on that's quietly been in the works for years. It could provide an economic boost and help alleviate traffic.

It's called the Kentucky 9 Expansion Project and will be finished within the next few years.

"I think it's the biggest thing that's happened to this area in probably 30, 40 years," said State Rep. Dennis Keene, (D)-Campbell.

The project has been envisioned for about 26 years, Keene says.  It connects Cincinnati with Newport, Covington and the riverfront. It also connects the south end of Kenton and Campbell counties.

The plan is to realign and widen the road for better connectivity. That connectivity will mean faster travel and more dollars.

"When the entire corridor is complete, it will provide improved access to Newport as well as the Taylor Southgate Bridge," said Rob Hans, Chief District Engineer for Department of Highways District 6.

"We're going to have bike trails through here.  We already have two new hotels opening up because of it.  We also have businesses talking about locating this area," Keene told FOX19 NOW.

The project starts at the AA Highway in Newport around 12th Street.

"The big thing is to get people moving safely from the AA through Newport and take it off of the city streets and, sort of, putting it on its own path," said Nancy Wood with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The project runs along the Licking River all the way to the Taylor Southgate Bridge.  It's a bridge that Keen says is underused, and could help with traffic on an overused Brent Spence Bridge.

"If we can take 10 or 15 thousand cars a day off the Brent Spence and use this bridge, and this route, I mean, think of that," Keene told FOX19 NOW.

The project is short, but very expensive.  Keene says it comes with a price tag of more than $40 million.  He says it's money well-spent that's already paying dividends.

"It's roughly over $46 million.  It's probably the most expensive highway in all of the state of Kentucky," Keene said.

The final phase, the middle portion tying all sections together, is expected to start in 2017.

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