The Corridor Project is Wrong for Northern Kentucky

The current plan for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor does not work for Northern Kentucky.

  • It does not solve our traffic congestion;
  • It does not address infrastructure needs in Northern Kentucky;
  • It does not provide opportunities for economic growth in Northern Kentucky, instead tying our future to the I-71/I-75 corridor for the next 50 years;

Better alternatives are available -- options that work for all of Greater Cincinnati, including Northern Kentucky.

The Corridor Project won't eliminate congestion in Northern Kentucky.

Advocates of the Corridor Plan understand that it will not resolve congestion:

“The way Cincinnati is laid out, the more lanes you build on 75, the more traffic you draw because you have the Norwood Lateral, you have Cross County Highway, you have a parallel route with 71,” [Ohio Department of Transportation’s Brent Spence project manager Stefan] Spinosa said. “We could continue to build lanes on 75 but they would fill because of the nature of the traffic network in the region.”

Ohio and Kentucky could have planned to build up to seven lanes in each direction but chose not to, Spinosa said.

“The plan is to build one additional lane, do interchange improvements, then at that point … there is a mass transit component that would need to come online at some point in the future to address any future demand,” he said.

What will happen on the new Brent Spence when more traffic comes to I-75?, Cincinnati Business Courier, March 30, 2015

Congestion at 275:

The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor plan will disrupt the interstate system further south. Should the expected increase in traffic materialize, the 1-275 interchange will become the new bottleneck; the billions of dollars spent on the corridor will only shift congestion a few miles deeper into Kentucky. Notably, access to the airport and key logistical centers in Kentucky will suffer as I-275 becomes a parking lot.

The Corridor Plan expands the Bridge from four lanes to eight, with additional lanes available during rush hour.

Source: Brent Spence Bridge Project Options Analysis, September 2013

Those 8+ lanes reduce to 3 as you approach I-275. There is no plan to add additional capacity from I-275 to the I-75/71 split in Richwood, necessary for Kentucky to benefit from the Corridor Project. The expansion of the interstate from to Richwood would take considerable time and money -- estimates place the cost at over a billion dollars in additional spending.

Congestion Caused by Tolls:

Toll advocates believe that many people will initially divert to other bridges to avoid paying tolls, but will some eventually trickle back to the Brent Spence as those other bridges become congested. That process will disrupt regional transportation patterns for decades, and will leave the rest of our road network with a significantly higher equilibrium congestion.

 

 Source: Brent Spence Bridge Project Options Analysis, September 2013

There are alternatives to the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.

One proposal is called the Cincy Eastern Bypass. In addition to an outer loop around the eastern part of the region, the proposal suggests modest improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge to improve safety and capacity.  

Estimates have put the cost of improvements to the Bridge at about $100 million, with the cost of a new bypass estimated at $1.1 billion. In total, about half the cost of the current plan.

The proposal, among other options, is currently being studied by the KY Transportation Cabinet.

Improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge:

The suggested improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge include adding a left hand exit at Fourth Street in Covington, rerouting the Fourth Street entrance ramp in Covington back to Pike Street, slight adjustments to the geometry of the remaining ramps, and resumed maintenance on the bridge to restore its appearance on protect it from rust and corrosion.

The exit and entrance ramps at Fourth Street in Covington contribute to both safety concerns and congestion. Modest changes can reduce the lane weaving that contributes to safety concerns on the Bridge while effectively increasing capacity by removing the three-lane northbound stretch on the approach.

These minor changes would address most of the problems with the Bridge in an affordable, sensible way. The cost could easily be born by existing highway funds, making tolls unnecessary.

We have uploaded a detailed comparison of this alternative to the existing KY Brent Spence Bridge approaches.

The Cincy Eastern Bypass:

Building the Cincy Eastern Bypass will improve traffic flow and congestion on I-75, I-71, and I-275 by diverting thru-traffic, and many of the large trucks, from the existing route. According to OKI, approximately 25% of the traffic on the Brent Spence Bridge is thru-traffic that does not stop in our region. Diverting one fourth of the traffic around the region would add one lane of capacity on the Brent Spence and I-75/I-71 for use by local travelers.

You can learn more about the Cincy Eastern Bypass at http://cincyeasternbypass.com/


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