Brent Spence Bridge Corridor August 31, 2023 eNewsletter
Open House Meetings Offer Update on
Project Status
More than 300 people attended two open-house meetings conducted by the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project team this month to hear an update on the status of the $3.6 billion project.
Conducted at the Radisson Hotel in Covington and Longworth Hall in Cincinnati on August 23 and August 24, the open houses offered visitors an opportunity to browse exhibits, review project information, and talk one-on-one with project team members.

Maps, posters, renderings, and a video provided information on a variety of topics, including a brief history of the project, which dates to 2004, when the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) formally began studying ways to improve 7.8 miles of I‐71 and I‐75.

Open house visitors also learned about the project’s innovation process. During this 60-day period, the team designing and building the project will identify and evaluate ways to refine or change the project’s basic configuration to meet established goals and objectives, or to reduce costs, impacts, and schedule. This process includes an evaluation of ideas submitted by individuals, organizations, and local agencies. (For more information, please see article below.)

The open house meetings also provided visitors with an update on the project’s environmental process. Environmental approval for the project was issued in 2012 and re-evaluated in 2015 and 2018. Since 2018, regulations have changed and refinements to the project’s design have been made. As a result, in 2022 KYTC and ODOT agreed with the Federal Highway Administration to prepare an enhanced re-evaluation known as a Supplemental Environmental Assessment.

Publication of this supplemental environmental assessment is expected to be available for public review later this year, and public hearings will be conducted in Kentucky and Ohio. The Federal Highway Administration’s final decision on the supplemental environmental assessment is expected to be announced early next year.

The open houses were a part of ODOT’s and KYTC’s continuing efforts to work with community members to assure their voices are heard and their needs are addressed in the project plan.
Innovation Period for Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project to Begin September 2023
Refinements to the proposed design of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor (BSBC) Project will be evaluated during a 60-day innovation period, which is expected to begin next month.

This innovation period will give the Walsh Kokosing design-build team and the bi-state management team — comprised of representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) — the opportunity to explore refinements that could reduce project costs, shorten the project schedule, provide some other sort of benefit or value, or help with project delivery. Alternative technical concepts that are deemed feasible (i.e., able to be built within the project’s footprint, timeline, and budget) and add value to the project will be incorporated into the project’s design, while those that do not meet those criteria will be rejected.
“We’re not looking at whole new alternatives with this process,” ODOT Project Manager Tommy Arnold said. “We’re not looking to move I-75 and buy more right-of-way. We’re generally looking at tweaks.”

Engineers from municipalities within the project area, such as the City of Cincinnati and the City of Covington, will also be included in the evaluation process to give feedback on concepts affecting their locales.

The innovation period will commence shortly after the Walsh Kokosing design-build team signs the contract for the project, which is likely to occur early next month, Arnold said.

In addition to brainstorming and evaluating ideas of their own, Walsh Kokosing and the bi-state management team will be examining comments and proposed design concepts submitted by other parties, such as private citizens and local advocacy groups. Comments from the project advisory committee and those received during the two public open houses held earlier this month may also be evaluated.

“We’ll need to move through that innovation process in the time allotted in order to keep the project moving forward and avoid delays,” Arnold said.

Reports requested via resolution by the City of Cincinnati and the Hamilton County Commissioners on the possibility of returning more developable land are expected to be published shortly after the conclusion of the innovation period.

After the innovation period ends, Walsh Kokosing will “switch into production mode” and work to get all accepted changes from the innovation period incorporated into the project design and generate cost estimates, Arnold said.
Diversity & Inclusion Committee Meets Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project’s DBT Diversity & Inclusion Manager
More than 50 community representatives convened for the recent meeting of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor (BSBC) Diversity & Inclusion Committee, held August 22 at the Ohio Kentucky Indiana (OKI) Regional Council office in downtown Cincinnati.
BSBC Project Manager Tommy Arnold welcomed the group, provided an update on project progress and next steps. He then introduced the project’s recently-selected design-build partner, Walsh Kokosing, before sharing an overview of the goals behind the project’s outreach efforts for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) and workforce development.

“The estimated total cost for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project is larger than ODOT’s annual capital budget,” said Arnold. “The DBE goal for Phase 1 of this project is nine percent of approximately $250 million. We can’t reach that goal alone. We need this committee’s help to make sure businesses and individuals here in our hometown know how to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.”

Icy Williams, Walsh Kokosing DBT Diversity & Inclusion manager for the project, took the podium next for a presentation on the project’s Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach plan (DIOP). Slated to be complete in September, the plan includes components for goal attainment and tracking, outreach, on-the-job training, workforce development, and community engagement. Williams asked the committee for ideas and assistance to reach eligible members of the Greater Cincinnati community and opened the floor, creating an opportunity for what became a lively discussion around outreach ideas.

In addition to the D&I committee, the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) convened in August.

To learn more about the BSBC project’s DBE efforts, opportunities, and requirements, visit here and here. For more about the PAC, click here.
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.

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 questions posed to the project team during meetings or via email. The document with the responses from all sources is updated monthly.
Stay Connected
There are several ways to stay connected with the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.
© 2022 Brent Spence Bridge Corridor. All Rights Reserved.