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New design for Cincinnati's Brent Spence Bridge corridor frees up 9.5 acres for development

A new design for I-75 interchanges in Cincinnati would free up nine-and-half acres of land for the city to develop. Officials unveiled a new, narrower design Thursday for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor, which will be constructed along with the future companion bridge.

City officials and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber asked the Ohio Department of Transportation to make changes to the design to reclaim more land, improve green space and pedestrian/bicyclist safety, and keep a "city feel."

Mayor Aftab Pureval says the original construction of I-71 and 75 tore apart the West End, a predominantly Black community.

"Under our new proposal, the mission of stitching these communities back together is front and center," Pureval said. This includes plans to refine our entrance and exit ramps, ensuring they integrate into our into our network and reclaim as much land as possible, and crucially, plans to design our bridges crossing the highway so that they maintain a neighborhood feel and prioritize pedestrian and bike safety."

The changes are not expected to make the project more expensive, or delay construction.

The nine-and-a-half acres that will be turned over for city ownership is about twice the amount that would have been reclaimed under the previous design.

"We're talking about an estimated $20 million in land value that can generate over a half-million dollars in annual real estate taxes in the future," Pureval said.

See a comparison of the original design (left) with the new design below:

The Ohio Department of Transportation will start meeting with community councils next week. Broader public input meetings are expected in the spring. In the meantime, public comment can be submitted online at

A group of advocates called Bridge Forward, led by Brian Boland, has been pushing for a significantly smaller footprint. They're not impressed with the redesign.

"We're happy to see any movement, and we're going to keep pushing on those levers as much as we can," Boland said. "Because this is transformational for the city, and the opportunity is huge. Of course, we think it’s bigger than 10 acres."

Boland says concerns with the corridor go beyond the amount of land that can be reclaimed.

Officials say the new design is about as far as they can go in narrowing the project size.

See below: the request from Cincinnati for changes to the design and a summary of ODOT's revised plan.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.