What impact will tolls on the Brent Spence Bridge have on other traffic?


Traffic diversion will create congestion locally in many communities in Northern Kentucky. The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and Roebling Suspension Bridge will be most impacted from diverted traffic, but many other local roads will experience unexpected diversion and a change in traffic patterns. The congestion will delay response times for emergency personnel and will make travel more difficult for local residents.

An analysis of diversion following the imposition of tolls is of considerable interest. A large part of this diversion away from Brent Spence Bridge is absorbed by the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge. While in 2018, AADT on Brent Spence may be expected to decrease by 77, 000 in response to the introduction of a $2 toll, volumes on Clay Wade Bailey are expected to increase by 24,000 and on the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge by 25,000.

Brent Spence Bridge Corridor, Options Analysis, 10/1/2013 pp. 48-49

It's unlikely that the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge could survive this much additional traffic.

The Roebling suspension bridge carries nearly 9,000 vehicles daily, according to a 2012 state traffic count. That also could more than double, to 18,500 vehicles daily, under the $2 toll scenario.

There are serious questions about whether the historic structure can handle that additional volume. In 2008, the bridge’s weight limit was lowered from 15 to 11 tons, removing buses and heavy trucks to ease the load. In May, an inspection report revealed that the giant sandstone towers that support the bridge’s cables are beginning to show signs of wear.

Amanda Van Benschoten, Covington Leaders feel shut out of Bridge plans, Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/29/2013

There has been no systematic study of the impact of diversion on Northern Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure. Ohio just appropriated money to begin studying the impact of Brent Spence tolls on regional traffic patterns. The study will cost $8 million, and the subject is the structure of the tolls, not their wisdom.


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