The passage of the bipartisan federal infrastructure package has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans who use the federal highway system to travel between Ohio and Kentucky and beyond. It also presents the opportunity to invest in local businesses and a growing workforce by improving safety and travel along one of the most important national corridors for commerce and freight.
The Brent Spence Bridge is the critical link in this important eight-mile corridor from the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio to Dixie Highway in Kentucky. The bridge is structurally sound and will remain in service for decades to come.
New funding will support construction of a new companion bridge – not a replacement – as well as updates to the existing bridge and the interstate network throughout the corridor. The Departments of Transportation for both Ohio and Kentucky are working together to apply for funding and ensure the project is shovel-ready as funding is awarded.
Business, transportation, political, and civic leaders in Ohio and Kentucky have come together to advocate for this project regionally and nationally. A preferred alternative for a new companion bridge was approved in 2012, based on a federally-prescribed evaluation process that included detailed technical and environmental analysis, as well as comprehensive public engagement.
- The current anticipated project cost is $2.8 billion, which will be shared by each state. The cost of the companion bridge will be split 50/50 by Ohio and Kentucky, and each state will pay for the approach work on their respective end of the bridge. The current estimates for each state are $1.48 billion for Ohio and $1.31 billion for Kentucky.
- Opportunities to reduce the cost of the preferred alternative are being evaluated. The 2012 decision is not being reopened because the goal of building a new companion structure to the west of the existing bridge remains unchanged – to improve safety and ease congestion by providing additional capacity that separates local and through traffic. The preferred alternative – with potential adjustments to design – meets that objective.
- After Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a memorandum of understanding of February 28 of this year, the bi-state project team began preparing an application to support the project through the Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant, which includes funding set aside for projects that are so large that traditional funding and grant mechanisms are not an option.
- The Kentucky General Assembly recently passed and Gov. Beshear signed, a budget bill that included funding required to fulfill state match requirements for large projects. The State of Ohio is actively developing its financial strategy, which will be included in the grant application to be submitted by May 23, 2022.