An application for nearly $2 billion in federal funding was filed by the governors of Ohio and Kentucky specifically targeting the Brent Spence Bridge corridor that spans the borders of the two states.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said they had requested $1.66 billion from the Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant, a program from the U.S. Department of Transportation. US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced $2.9 billion in available funding through the program in March, as part of the new infrastructure law. The deadline for applying for funding was Monday.
The Brent Spence Bridge corridor project includes a companion bridge adjacent to the existing bridge, which runs from Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky via I-71 and I-75.
The two governors called the corridor an “essential hub of the United States’ interstate system” and said it is an important thoroughfare for the national economy. Data provided by the governor’s offices said the bridge carries 160,000 vehicles per day, double what the bridge was designed to accommodate in 1963 when it opened.
“With the current supply chain crisis in our country, it has never been more urgent to ensure that this important transportation corridor remains open and moving,” DeWine said in a statement.
The requested grant for Beshear and DeWine is about 60% of the project costs, they said in a statement announcing the application. Other funding will come from the two states and other federal dollars, a press release said, although it did not provide specific sources for the remaining funds.
“States will split the cost of the new bridge 50/50, and each state will be responsible for the work needed on its side of the border,” the press release said.
Improvements are also planned to the Western Hills flyover interchange in Ohio and the Dixie Highway in Kentucky as part of the “interstate network” around the bridge.
The project has bipartisan support from congressional leaders, including Ohio US Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.
The bridge closed in March 2021 half of the lanes for maintenance. The project ended in November 2021.
Several lanes and ramps on the bridge, which the American Transportation Research Institute named the No. 2 truck bottleneck nationwide, have been closed for routine maintenance for the past eight months.
In November 2020, the Brent Spence Bridge was closed for approximately six weeks due to a crash of two semi-trucks that caused a chemical spill and a massive fire. The shutdown caused major disruption to commuters across the region until its reopening in December.
Last year, the bridge’s emergency repair project was nominated for a People’s Choice Award from America’s Transportation Awards (ATA).
Portion of this story was first published by the Ohio Capital Journal and is republished here with permission.
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