Covington wants hazardous materials ban on Brent Spence Bridge enforced

The fiery wreck that damaged the Brent Spence Bridge.
The fiery wreck that damaged the Brent Spence Bridge.(Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 12:05 PM EST
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COVINGTON, Ky. (FOX19) - City of Covington officials want a 2013 regulation that bans hazardous materials on the Brent Spence Bridge to be publicized and enforced.

Officials said the fiery semi crash that shut down the bridge on Nov. 11 should be a “wake-up call.”

The crash involved two tractor-trailers, one of which was carrying potassium hydroxide.

[ Before and after: Fire and Brent Spence Bridge Damage (video) ]

According to the city, the ban, approved by both federal and state highway officials, appears to be neither widely known or routinely followed.

The Covington Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday calling for better signage, the redirecting of trucks carrying hazardous materials and enforcement of the ban.

According to the resolution, the crash “established beyond a reasonable doubt the risk associated with hazardous materials on the Brent Spence Bridge.”

The entire resolution can be read here.

City officials said they’re more focused on preventing future catastrophes.

“It could have been a whole lot worse,” Mayor Joe Meyer said in a news release. “We were very lucky, so the question becomes, very simply, why take the risk?”

According to the city, the ban came in the form of companion regulations that were put in place by both the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and made effective July 15, 2013.

One regulation designated Interstate 71/75 north of Interstate 275 in Kentucky as a “restricted hazardous material” route. The other regulation diverted northbound trucks onto I-275 eastbound so as to avoid the bridge and the Lytle Tunnel in Cincinnati.

The city says currently an existing sign in Kentucky tells truckers carrying hazardous materials to avoid I-71, which runs through the Lytle Tunnel. Another sign directs hazmat carriers to use I-75, in apparent violation of the ban.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said the Brent Spence Bridge is on schedule to reopen on Dec. 23.

FOX19 NOW reached out to the Covington Police Department and KSP for comment but have not heard back.

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