Best Of 2022

Best Ongoing Bridge Drama

Brent Spence Bridge

We all know the Brent Spence Bridge, which carries the freight equivalent of 3% of the nation’s gross domestic product according to the National Association of Manufacturers, is in dire need of improvements and repair after seven decades in existence. Opened in 1963, the bridge moves traffic north and south on I-71 and I-75 across the Ohio River. For decades, it has been a source of daily traffic jams, extended safety and maintenance projects, and efficiency failures. In February, the American Transportation Research Institute named the I-71 and I-75 confluence at the Brent Spence Bridge the second-worst truck bottleneck in the entire country — the same ranking as in 2021 and three spots higher than in 2020. For about eight months beginning last March, the Brent Spence Bridge closed half its lanes for maintenance, and finally reopened to regular traffic on Nov. 8. And last April, CNN even explored the history of politicians failing for decades to address the Brent Spence Bridge’s long-standing issues. But the trouble spot may finally get its glow-up, thanks to heavy alignment from Ohio and Kentucky leaders. In February, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a memorandum of understanding outlining plans to jointly apply for and use federal dollars to revamp Greater Cincinnati’s longtime traffic nuisance. Plans from the Ohio and Kentucky transportation teams call for the Brent Spence Bridge to be repaired while a toll-free companion bridge is erected nearby to help alleviate traffic. Beshear said that he and DeWine would jointly request a total of about $2 billion for the project. “There is no bridge in this country that is as necessary and needing of a change,” DeWine said. Yeah, you’re telling us.