Brent Spence Bridge Corridor October 30, 2023 eNewsletter
With the design-build contract officially signed, the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project team commenced the project’s Proof of Concept Phase on October 2. The Innovation Period is part of the project’s Proof of Concept phase, which will conclude in the spring of 2024.

“The Innovation Period is critical for efficiency’s sake,” said Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Project Manager Tommy Arnold. “We continue to evaluate ways to save money and time, and to meet the contract objectives, such as achieving effective project delivery, minimizing traffic disruption during construction, and maximizing the public investment in the project. It’s a period of refinement of the base plan.”

While the 60-day innovation period will end in December, the resulting ideas will still need further evaluation for constructability and cost. Final decisions are expected by mid-2024.
The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project will include changes proposed by the Cincinnati Department of Transportation & Engineering – a wider design that will create additional connectivity and the potential to support future development.
Above: Ground-level and Google Earth images of the green space added to Long Street bridge in Columbus. Ezzard Charles Drive could look similar.
The proposed Ezzard Charles Drive bridge would widen the overpass without changing the crossing distance, while potentially allowing for enhanced landscaping, social gathering areas and small retail development. The wider bridge would improve connectivity and create a gateway for the Cincinnati Museum Center and the West End neighborhood.
The need to widen the Ezzard Charles bridge emerged following recent public outreach meetings and is a testament to the strong coordination between ODOT and the City of Cincinnati.
In a continuing effort to invest in and minimize the impact of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor (BSBC) Project on communities, KYTC will contribute $15 million toward the construction of an underground parking garage in Covington. This is a great example of providing solutions that invest in the community and minimize project costs and impacts.

The new parking facility will replace the approximately 160 spaces that are currently located under Interstates 71 and 75 and directly across the street from the Kenton County Government Center.
Above: Existing parking spaces available for the Kenton County Government Center.
“This is truly a win-win,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in announcing the agreement. “Kenton County can keep the parking for its government center. It also will have a valuable space for future development on top of the new garage. At the same time, the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project will incur less cost because it will require far less highway bridge area.”

Building the parking garage and removing the parking from under the interstate reduces the length of highway bridge required in this area, thus reducing both overall construction costs and future maintenance costs.

“We appreciate the Commonwealth working with Kenton County to mitigate the loss of parking caused by the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project,” said Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann, who added that officials are considering a site immediately east of the government center for the parking garage. “Convenient and abundant parking was key to our decision to relocate the Kenton County Government Center to the 12th Street interchange, and this solution makes us whole.

“Secretary Jim Gray and his team have been great partners in recognizing and addressing the local issues generated by such a large and nationally significant project. This new garage will also contribute to Kenton County’s already significant work to make the 12th Street interchange a premier gateway into the city of Covington.”
A KYTC pilot project will provide residents and businesses in Covington the opportunity to experience how well transparent noise walls work to dampen highway noise without blocking views to the local business district and beyond.

KYTC will soon begin working on the construction of transparent noise barriers along Crescent Avenue in Covington, located just to the west of Interstates 71 and 75 (I-71/75). See-through material will be used in the noise walls along a 1,000-foot stretch to cut down noise pollution from the highway without sacrificing sight lines to Downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River.

“Of course, everyone is concerned with noise, but they’re also concerned with the loss of views in the area, particularly from Goebel Park and from the west side of the interstate looking toward the Cincinnati skyline or the Covington-Mainstrasse area,” said Gary Valentine, KYTC’s BSBC major project coordinator. "We listened and started exploring how to make transparent noise barriers in this area a reality."
Clear barriers have long been seen in coastal states and in Europe, and more recently have been adopted in Ohio and Tennessee. This project will be Kentucky’s first utilization of the concept.

With completion expected in 2024, the pilot project is intended to provide the Covington community the opportunity to see transparent barriers in place before they provide feedback on final noise wall decisions for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project. 
With project construction on the horizon, ODOT and KYTC are investing in educating youth about careers in the transportation industry. In conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters, ODOT recently participated in a 2023 summer program, Camp Oty’Okwa, where 395 children from across Ohio learned about the relationship between the transportation industry and our environment.

Campers participated in hands-on activities such as the Building Paper Bridges activity. In this activity, students learned about the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project and worked in teams of five to design, sketch, and build a paper bridge. Students were assigned the roles of the Governor of Ohio, Governor of Kentucky, Project Designer, Structural Engineer, and Bridge Safety Inspector to design and build a paper bridge. Activities like this created a fun interactive environment for campers to learn and develop interests in transportation careers.  
The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project team welcomes comments and feedback from the public. To submit a question or comment, visit the project website and click on the “Contact Us” button in the upper right-hand corner. You can also contact the Design-Build team directly about job opportunities at [email protected], or visit their website.
Responses to all public comments can be viewed on the Public Involvement and Comments section of the website. This section features project exhibits, summaries of outreach activities, and responses to comments submitted to the project team.
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