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'Texas Turnaround' ramp for I-71/75 now open in Covington

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet video shows drivers how to navigate the new Texas Turnaround
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet video shows drivers how to navigate the new Texas Turnaround

After nine months of construction, Kentucky's first "Texas Turnaround" is complete and is open to traffic.

The ramp was created to fix traffic issues on NB I-71/75 in Covington near the Brent Spence Bridge, which often led to congestion and wrecks on the highway.

The highly anticipated Texas Turnaround replaces the old Fourth St. entrance onto the highway closer to the bridge, which made it difficult for drivers to safely merge with oncoming traffic. It was especially difficult for drivers who only had the length of the bridge to get all the way over to the far left lane toward the entrance to I-75.

While the new U-shaped ramp may add a few extra seconds of drive time, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says this new addition will relieve congestion and reduce traffic accidents by allowing drivers more time to merge and get into the proper lane once they come onto the highway.

The Texas Turnaround maybe sounds unusual, but James Heatherly from the Transportation Cabinet says using the new U-turn lane will feel natural for most drivers.

"It's a very fluid, signed area," Heatherly said. "There's no way you can misconstrue what to do. It's separate from the main line on Pike Street, so you're separated from that traffic. You don't have that 'Uh-oh, I'm in the wrong lane or I'm going the wrong way' feeling."

To make things even easier the department made a video showing drivers how to get to the turnaround and use it properly.

The Texas Turnaround gets its name from the state where the ramp was first introduced, but Heatherly says similar travel patterns could be coming to other parts of the state where adjustments are needed.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.