An application for nearly $2 billion in federal funding was submitted by the governors of Ohio and Kentucky specifically targeting the Brent Spence Bridge corridor that spans the borders of the two states.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said they asked for $1.66 billion from the Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant, a program through the U.S. Department of Transportation. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $2.9 billion in available funding through the program in March, as part of the new infrastructure law. The deadline to apply for funding was Monday.
The Brent Spence Bridge corridor project will include a “companion bridge” next to the existing bridge, which goes from Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky via I-71 and I-75.
The two governors called the corridor a “vital centerpiece to the interstate system of the United States,” and said it is an important thoroughfare for the national economy. Data provided by the governors’ offices said the bridge carries 160,000 vehicles per day, double what the bridge was designed to accommodate in 1963 when it was opened.
“With the current supply chain crisis in our country, the issue of ensuring that this major transportation corridor stays open and moving has never been more urgent,” DeWine said in a statement.
The grant funding Beshear and DeWine requested is about 60% of the project cost, they said in a statement announcing the application. Other funding will come from the two states and other federal dollars, a press release stated, though it didn’t give specific sources for the remaining funds.
“The states will split the cost of the new bridge 50/50, and each state will be responsible for the needed work on its side of the border,” the press release stated.
Improvements are also planned to the Western Hills viaduct interchange in Ohio and the Dixie Highway in Kentucky as part of the “interstate network” surrounding the bridge.
The project has bipartisan support from congressional leaders, including Ohio U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.
In March 2021, the bridge closed half of its lanes for maintenance. The project finished in November of 2021.
Several lanes and ramps on the bridge, which the American Transportation Research Institute named the No. 2 bottleneck for freight trucks in the entire nation, were closed throughout the last eight months for routine maintenance.
In November of 2020, the Brent Spence Bridge was closed for about six weeks due to two semi-trucks crashing and causing a chemical spill and massive fire. The closure caused major disruptions for commuters across the region until it reopened in December.
Last year, the bridge’s emergency repair project was nominated for a People’s Choice Award from America’s Transportation Awards (ATA).
A portion of this story was first published by the Ohio Capital Journal and is republished here with permission.