by J.D. Davidson
Ohio and Kentucky made a second request to a second federal grant program to cover the $1.66 billion needed to replace an Ohio River bridge that connects the two states at Cincinnati.
The second ask follows a May request for the 8-mile Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project from the Western Hills Viaduct in the Cincinnati area of Ohio to Dixie Highway in Kentucky. The May request is still pending.
Officials from both states said the money is needed regardless of which grant project awards the funds. The new funding request is to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grant program, which officials say gives them the best chance of receiving maximum funding.
“Now, more than ever, our national economy depends on the efficient movement of people, goods, and services on our federal interstate system,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said. “The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project is long overdue, and our residents deserve to have these highway infrastructure upgrades become a reality. Ohio and Kentucky continue to work closely with our federal partners to secure the funding we need to invest in our future through the transformation of this critical corridor.”
Both DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear have repeatedly said they will pursue every federal dollar available for the project.
“The time for us to act is now,” Beshear said. “Kentucky and Ohio are working with our partners to ensure we have the funding we need to complete improvements along the Brent Spence Bridge corridor. There is a tremendous sense of urgency surrounding this project because we recognize how important it is for the people we serve. I want us to be able to break ground next year.”
As previously reported by The Center Square in July, both governors announced an update to the initially approved planned to include the bridge being 84 feet wide and take up 14 acres.
The plan still calls for a new bridge to divert traffic off the existing Brent Spence Bridge, a double-decker that carries traffic from interstates 71 and 75 across the Ohio River. The new bridge, expected to open in 2029, would carry the interstate highway traffic. The 59-year-old bridge will handle local commuters.
The Brent Spence Bridge serves about 160,000 vehicles daily. That’s about double the load it was intended to carry.
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J.D. Davidson is a regular contributor to The Center Square. An Ohio native, Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.
Photo “Brent Spence Bridge” by Antony-22. CC BY-SA 4.0.