City leaders hold Brent Spence meeting to discuss bridge details

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - The Brent Spence Bridge meeting in Covington was standing room only on Tuesday night.

City leaders said the meeting was held to get the three new city commissioners up to speed on the project, but dozens showed up to hear the latest information, first-hand.

"This is the time to start speaking up," the city's mayor Sherry Carran told FOX19.

Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), and the authors of the "Value for Money" study all attended the meeting and presented the latest information available on the project.

According to the project's website, ODOT and KYTC are working on the "Value for Money" study. It states the study will "explore financing and construction options" for the project and "evaluate the potential methods that could be used to build a new bridge and make a recommendation on how to do so quickly and cost-effectively".

The study results are expected by the end of March.

The City of Covington has commissioned a separate study by the University of Cincinnati to examine the Brent Spence Bridge Project's impact on the city. The first phase of the economic impact study was presented Tuesday night. The second and more comprehensive phase is due to the city in April. The study is costing the City of Covington $26,000.

The study is looking at the impact of access points on the Covington area. The limited access expected during project construction is also being considered. Additionally, the study will look at the potential impact of tolls on the area.

"I think what you can take away is that there's going to be an impact on Covington businesses," City Manager Larry Klein said. "We have not heard that from any group or organization out there yet which is why the city wanted to do its own study."

"My job and the job of our commission is to look out for Covington," Carran argued.
Klein says the goal of the study presentation is for the city commission to absorb the information and determine a position on tolling and other project related issues and then represent that position to state legislators and other stake holders.

"It's an intricate part of what Covington is so of course we value their input," said Nancy Wood, spokesperson for KYTC in District 6. "We want to make the best fit that will work with the folks and the businesses and the people who live and visit there."

"When we look back ten to fifteen years from now we want to be proud of this bridge project and what it's done for Covington and the region," Carran said.

Nancy Wood says roughly 40 pieces of property still require right-of-way acquisition.

The total budget for the project now sits at $2.7 billion.

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