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Nearly completed 'Texas Turnaround' for I-71/75 in Covington brings temporary traffic changes

fourth st ramp.JPG
Zack Carreon
The W. 4th St. entrance to I-71 and 75 will close permanently and direct northbound traffic south toward Pike St. before merging onto the northbound highway.

Drivers who used to take the northbound on-ramp on W. 4th St. to interstate 71/75 in Covington will now take a different route.

Starting Thursday, Dec. 1, the W. 4th St. entrance onto the highway will close permanently to make way for the new "Texas Turnaround" entrance further south on Pike St.

A Texas Turnaround is a ramp that takes drivers traveling in one direction into a U-shaped lane that goes underneath the highway and turns them around to head in the other direction.

The decision to close the ramp next to the Brent Spence Bridge and construct a new entrance further away was made years ago to improve access to the interstate and make merging safer for drivers.

"If you're entering onto the bridge at 4th and you're in the right lane and you want to be on 75 North, you've got to work your way over two to three lanes in the length of that bridge," Covington City Manager Ken Smith said. "Those quick lane changes are leading to people being rear-ended or side-swiped."

The Texas Turnaround on-ramp is set to open in mid-December. Until then, drivers looking to travel north will be directed onto a southbound collector ramp along the interstate that leads to alternative ramps on Pike St. and Kyles Ln.

The Pike St. entrance onto the interstate that shares part of its on-ramp with the new turnaround will be reopened after seven months ahead of the turnaround's completion.

texas turnaround ramp.JPG
Zack Carreon
Construction of the "Texas Turnaround" lane underneath the interstate nears completion on Pike St. Drivers will now be able to use the regular Pike St. entrance onto northbound I-71 & 75 which was previously closed due to the project.

While traveling south to eventually head north may seem counterintuitive, the city manager says the change will be a better option for drivers who need to switch lanes, especially once construction is finished.

"Rerouting traffic down to Pike St. and doing the Texas Turnaround, folks will have twice as long to make that decision or to make that lane change in order to continue onto 75 North," Smith said.

City officials in Covington are warning drivers of the temporary changes and say they're excited about the completion of the project next month.

Zack Carreon earned his bachelor's degree in media production from Bowling Green State University. Before joining Cincinnati Public Radio, he was a content editor and photojournalist at WTOL 11 News in Toledo. Zack enjoys long hikes, collecting vinyl records, and watching his hometown team the Cleveland Browns.