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SB471 construction starts; big delays could come this summer


Orange barrels and lane shifts are now in place on southbound 471 as a major reconstruction project gets started.  That's likely to slow the evening commute for drivers leaving downtown Cincinnati for northern Kentucky and the east side.  

But those delays will likely grow even longer in July when work starts on repairing the deck of the Daniel Carter Beard, or Big Mac, Bridge.  

Downtown traffic during afternoon rush hour will only be able to access 471 from Fort Washington Way or southbound 71.  The Fifth Street ramp will be completely closed for about a month during the bridge work and the Liberty ramp will be shut down from 4 to 6 weekday afternoons.  

Officials said the needed lane restrictions for the construction work make it impossible to maintain all the current access points.

As the project begins, most lanes of southbound 471 are still open.  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District Engineer Rob Hans explained what drivers can expect.

“Traffic will still have all three lanes of travel in the southbound direction for about the next month,” Hans said.  “Then will have lane closures, will have restrictions during peak hours.  Off peak hours there will be off and on lane closures, but during peak hours about a month from now is when we’ll have reductions in traffic lanes.”

Construction crews will be completely replacing deteriorated concrete pavement in the southbound direction with new asphalt pavement.
Work also includes repairing and replacing the roadway surfaces of bridge decks along the corridor at U.S. 27, Chesapeake, Sixth Street and the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge.

Guardrails and lighting will also be improved.  A second ramp lane will be added from southbound 471 to westbound 275.  In addition, crews will be extending the 4th lane coming off the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge.  It will extend past Kentucky 8 to the Memorial Parkway exit.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Work Zone Safety Coordinator Bob Hill has these words of comfort for construction weary drivers.    

“The end is in sight, we’re in the home stretch, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Hill said.  “The past couple of years, the drivers in northern Kentucky have been very challenged as we’ve reconstructed and rehabilitated I-75, I-275 and I-471 with the Revive the Drive program.”

In the fall of 2010, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet began the “Revive the Drive-NKY,” a wide-ranging initiative to make needed bridge and highway repairs and improvement across northern Kentucky’s interstates.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.