New plans shrink Brent Spence Companion Bridge

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 11:08 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear revealed updated bridge maps detailing new lane configurations and revamped plans to deliver the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project with fewer property impacts.

The new plans will reduce the footprint for the bridge. The original renderings and plans for the project were created in 2012.

“We were able to look at things over the last decade here, make some adjustments, and realize we could still accomplish what we need to accomplish with a smaller footprint, and so that’s what we did,” said Matt Bruning, Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman.

The Brent Spence Bridge project will construct a companion bridge next to the existing Brent Spence Bridge to improve traffic flow and safety.

“While this is a nationally significant project, it is still very much a community-minded project,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our teams have gone to great lengths to shrink property impacts while still delivering a solid solution to the traffic congestion issues in the region.”

Initial plans included two 14-foot shoulders on each deck of the new bridge and expanded shoulder widths on the existing bridge.

Bruning says there has been a lack of emergency shoulders on the Brent Spence Bridge since the mid-80s

“That was a decision that was made years ago to increase capacity on the existing bridge because that capacity was needed. We did that by sacrificing the emergency breakdown shoulders. So this plan would allow us to have those emergency breakdown shoulders should someone need them on both the existing bridge and the new companion bridge,” Bruning said.

The new bridge was planned to cover nearly 25 acres and span nearly 150 feet in width.

Revised plans show the new bridge at almost half the size of the 2012 footprint – covering approximately 14 acres and 84 feet in width.

The changes will also help reduce costs.

Updated maps show widened emergency shoulders on the existing Brent Spence Bridge to safely stow stalled vehicles, and 12-foot shoulders are provided on the new companion bridge.

“We felt good about where we were a decade ago because that solution provided additional capacity that reduces congestion and improves travel throughout the corridor,” ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said. “We feel even better about this revision because it dramatically reduces the footprint of the new bridge and completely separates interstate and local traffic.”

In February, Gov. Beshear and Gov. DeWine announced that they had applied for $2 billion in federal funds to build a companion bridge to the Brent Spence.

The project team is currently working on a second federal grant application that will be submitted by Aug. 9, and will continue to work with project partners on refining current plans, which call for breaking ground by the fall of 2023.

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