Brent Spence work delays drive into Downtown

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Expect traffic delays driving into downtown Cincinnati from both sides of the river this summer as work crews partially close the Brent Spence Bridge for maintenance.

Two lanes are closed for deck work on the bridge that connects Ohio and Kentucky across the Ohio River.

Delays are running 8 to 10 minutes on average. Those drive times are doubling during morning and evening rush hours.

So far Wednesday morning, traffic is down to 31 mph from the top of the Cut-in-the-Hill.

Work and lane closures will continue for the next two months, through most of August.

Transportation officials caution drivers to plan ahead: Know your drive, know your lane and use detours.

Several ramps also will shut down:


SB I-71 ramp from Fort Washington Way

SB I-71 ramp from Third Street


Fourth Street ramp in Covington to NB I-71/75

SB I-71/75 South to Erlanger

Double lane closures in both directions of the bridge will roll out in three phases over a 60-day period.

Phase I:

Two eastern-most lanes northbound and southbound on I-71/75

Phase II:

Two Center Lanes northbound and southbound on I-71/75

Phase III:

Two western-most lanes northbound and southbound on I-71/75

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials urge motorists to use detour routes such as I-471 or the I-275 outer loop.

The cabinet will release daily travel advisories on or follow fox19 on Twitter for real-time traffic updates.

This summer's $10 million project is routine maintenance and is not a major overhaul that will save the aging bridge. Maintenance on this scale has not been done on the bridge since the late 1990s.

The Brent Spence Bridge handles 180,000 cars a day, more than twice what it was designed for in 1963. The bridge serves as a major artery for commuters and truck traffic on Interstate 75 that stretches from Florida to Michigan. Major repairs or an entirely new bridge are often mentioned as one of the nation's top infrastructure needs.

The federal government, Ohio and Kentucky are seemingly making little progress to secure the estimated $2.5 billion it would cost to renovate the bridge and construct a new one alongside it. However, the ball is mostly in Kentucky's court. Last year, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed legislation banning the use of tolls on the bridge which could have been an avenue to generate revenue but has not formally proposed an alternative plan.

It is not just the two month Brent Spence project that will be stalling traffic around Cincinnati. Projects on I-74, 75 and 71 are either underway or will kick-off soon. However, there are no clear time tables for these projects:

Copyright 2017 WXIX. All rights reserved.