LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - On Tuesday, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet released the findings of a study on improving the Brent Spence Bridge corridor.
The Brent Spence Bridge carries Interstate 75 over the Ohio River. It is often pointed to as an example of the nation's troubled infrastructure. In January, President Donald Trump's team put together a list of 50 priority infrastructure projects around the country. According to reports, the Brent Spence Bridge was second on that list.
The new study from the KYTC found a second bridge needs to built next to the current bridge. The new bridge would not replace the Brent Spence Bridge. Instead, it would help relieve some of the traffic from Interstates 71 and 75. The Brent Spence Bridge was designed to carry 80,000 vehicles a day. KYTC says it currently carries twice that number.
The KYTC study says the cabinet needs to work with Ohio to identify funding for the project. Work cannot begin until funding is identified. KYTC estimates it will cost $2.6 billion and would take four to five years to build a new bridge. While the idea for tolls has been suggested to pay for it, this study did not look at any financing options.
The report suggests more research be done on the benefits of a Cincinnati Eastern Bypass. The bypass would include 75 miles of new interstate and new bridges over the Licking River, Ohio River, East Fork of the Little Miami River and the Little Miami River. The bypass would cost as much as $3.6 billion and take more than 10 years to complete. The report says even if the Cincinnati Eastern Bypass is built it would not divert enough traffic to help the Brent Spence Bridge and a second bridge would still be needed. Several other ideas for a bypass were considered.
The report found improvements are needed at the I-275 interchange near Walton as well. KYTC suggested widening the interchange between Dixie Highway/U.S. 25 and Turfway Road/KY 1017. The study found widening south of Turfway Road to the I-71/75 split will be needed between 2030 and 2040.