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'Three words: Brent Spence Bridge': Ky. Transportation Secretary meets with nation's infrastructure czar

Ohio and Kentucky are expected to learn as early as late summer if they will get the $1.66 billion they are asking for to create a companion bridge to the Brent Spence.

Kentucky’s Transportation Secretary will travel to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to meet with the nation’s so-called infrastructure czar, Mitch Landrieu. Secretary Jim Gray says it boils down to three words: “Brent Spence Bridge.”

During a Northern Kentucky Chamber event Tuesday, Gray said the project to build a companion bridge and subsequent corridor is on track. “The sun, moon and stars — everything is aligning for this project.”

Here's what Ohio and Kentucky have already done to prepare:

  • Turned in the application for $1.66 billion in federal infrastructure funds (ahead of many other states, according to Gray)
  • Ohio has purchased a large percentage of the right-of-way land for the companion bridge and corridor project
  • Kentucky is appraising the right-of-way land now (expecting to make offers to property owners as early as January 2023)
  • Signed a memorandum of understanding between the two states

“We’re in the process of our application being reviewed; Landrieu is not in that decision process, specifically, he’s simply aware of the project," says Gray. "And at this time, we’re focused on simply making anyone we can aware of the project.”
Kentucky and Ohio hope to hear how much they will get of the $1.66 billion requested in federal funding either in late summer or early fall. The entire project is expected to cost around $3 billion.

What still needs to happen

  • Ohio and Kentucky departments of transportation need to sign a memorandum of understanding
  • Hear back from the federal government on funding
  • Start process of looking for a contractor by January
  • Breaking ground in the fall of 2023

“We’re demonstrating that we got it together (Ohio and Kentucky)," says Gray. "This team is working seamlessly."

What the traffic flow will look like when the project is finished

Chief Engineer of Kentucky District 6 Bob Yeager says you might wonder how we can add that many lanes to a companion bridge and make it all tie in. “There is an extra lane added each time you pass an exit northbound," he says. (That's Dixie, Kyles, and 12th Street.)

“The other exciting thing is we will be able to convert the bridge back to its original configuration,” he says. “The existing bridge will become a local bridge and we will be taking thousands and thousands of vehicles off of it.”

He adds, “You will make your decision around Kyles Lane whether you want to go I-71 or I-75 but you will never have to merge.” He says the good news is everybody who is next to you is going where you are.

He joked to Northern Kentucky Chamber members, contrary to popular belief, he did not light the Brent Spence on fire two years ago to hasten a new bridge.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.