Brent Spence Bridge

Michael Keating

The Kentucky Transportation Department (KYTC) says the consultants it hired to do a bridge study recommend building another bridge across the Ohio River to improve safety and travel on I-71 and I-75 between Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

This would be in addition to the Brent Spence Bridge.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Kentucky's governor is taking on critics of his plan to overhaul the state pension system.

Michael Keating

There's good news coming for commuters who use the Brent Spence Bridge. All four lanes of northbound traffic will reopen early Friday morning, along with all the on and off ramps. Project spokeswoman Betty Hull says it comes after two months of bridge maintenance.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

This week Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced he would not seek a third trial for Ray Tensing in the shooting death of Sam DuBose, but Tensing could face federal civil rights violation charges. Maintenance work on the Brent Spence Bridge continues to cause traffic delays and headaches for commuters, and even some diehard Reds fans are losing patience with the team.

Brent Spence Bridge Maintenance Continues

Jul 11, 2017
Michael Keating

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify Hull's comments.

Work on the Brent Spence Bridge began about two weeks ago. In phase one of the rehabilitation project, two lanes were closed on the northbound deck and two more are closed on the southbound deck. The temporary change can make it seem like traffic has doubled on the bridge.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

A poll shows local support for transportation spending. The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber polled 400 voters in Hamilton county, 200 voters in Butler, Clermont, and Warren counties in Ohio, and 200 voters in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties in Kentucky, and Dearborn county in Indiana.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Work begins this Friday night on a project that's expected to cause major traffic problems. Maintenance on the Brent Spence Bridge will close two lanes in each direction over the next two months.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

President Trump was in Cincinnati Wednesday for a speech on rebuilding America's waterways. The Kroger Company announced plans to build a mixed-use project downtown, which will include the first grocery store the company has had downtown since 1969. And Cincinnati City Council looks at the city's budget and funding for the second year of the streetcar. 

Michael Keating

A group that coordinates regional transportation efforts - like funding a new Brent Spence Bridge - is in Washington D.C. this week. Members of the OKI Regional Council of Governments meet each year with lawmakers from the three-state region.

Michael Keating

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune believes there could be federal money coming for the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge. 

Ohio and Kentucky have been looking for funding without counting on federal assistance.  But Portune says right now both the House and the Senate are working on a multi-year transportation bill that could help.

There are some Northern Kentucky leaders – those who oppose tolls to pay for a replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge - who are saying that Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, is no longer welcome in their part of the state.

And they don’t seem to care which bridge he crosses to get there.

It seems that Ohio’s Republican governor, who is not the shy and retiring type when it comes to speaking his mind, left some noses out of joint Wednesday when he hooked up with Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, at Covington’s RiverCenter.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Ohio and Kentucky will share the costs of building a new bridge between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  The Brent Spence Bridge has been deemed functionally obsolete, carrying more traffic than intended. 

Ann Thompson / WVXU

When Governors John Kasich and  Steve Beshear hold a news conference in Covington Wednesday afternoon they are expected to elaborate on their plan to share the cost equally between Ohio and Kentucky. 

Many people are also wondering about a toll, something Northern Kentucky business leaders are against, but the governors say is necessary.

A study released in October 2013 projected $1 to $2 for cars; $3 to $6 for light trucks; and $5 to $10 for tractor-trailers.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The governors of Ohio and Kentucky plan to meet early next year to talk about replacing the Brent Spence Bridge. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says they're going to try to find a way to get the project moving.  He says any more delays will be costly.

Using a 3 percent inflation figure from the Federal Highway Administration, Beshear says continued delays will add about $7 million per month to the construction price tag.  “Folks, that’s $84 million a year,” he says.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell made a stop in the commonwealth Thursday. He spoke at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District's annual meeting.

Much of his speech focused on why he should be re-elected this November, but he began by addressing the region's heroin epidemic.

"It's the scourge of our rather affluent society," says McConnell, "but I think continuing to double down and cooperate at all levels of government is absolutely essential."

McConnell says Northern Kentucky remains the epicenter of the epidemic.

Michael Keating

Taxpayers will pick up the tab for an $8 million study of the impact of a reconstructed Brent Spence bridge on traffic, noise and the effect tolls will have on minorities and low-income persons.

The Ohio Controlling Board released the money Monday at the request of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)

ODOT spokesman Brian Cunningham said the state of Ohio is in the process of working out a “memorandum of understanding” with the state of Kentucky. Once that is finished, Cunningham said, Kentucky will reimburse Ohio for half of the $8 million.

Michael Keating

At the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Friday, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell spelled out his solution for paying for a new Brent Spence Bridge. The Republican says he will propose repealing the Davis-Bacon Act that requires the government to pay the local prevailing wage for federal projects.

By getting rid of this requirement, McConnell says, it will provide $13 billion to the Brent Spence  and other bridges in need of repair over a ten year period.

Michael Keating

With the aging Brent Spence in the background, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 533 into law Wednesday, as reporters and other politicians looked on.

The bill, which allows Ohio to collect tolls on the bridge, doesn't mean anything until Kentucky drafts and signs similar legislation. In March, the Kentucky House voted 82-7 to prohibit tolls on any federal interstate between Ohio and Kentucky.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, speaking at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday, called on the business community to step up and work with the legislature to make the new Brent Spence bridge project happen. "You know, we've got a lot of things that need to be flexible that we need to pull together and work together on."

Michael Keating

A new study, commissioned by Ohio and Kentucky, has narrowed procurement models for the $2.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge project from four to two and projected a range of tolls.

Michael Keating

Leaders in Ohio and Kentucky say the Brent Spence Bridge Project remains on target for a 2015 ground breaking but there's still no solid funding plan in place.

Mike Hancock of Kentucky says the states need to get creative when it comes to funding the project.

"There are opportunities to work with the community to see if there's anything we can do to make the toll rates more palatable."

Ohio Transportation secretary Jerry Wray agrees that tolling is part of the answer but not the entire solution.

Michael Keating

Ohio and Kentucky officials are working to complete a value for money study on the Brent Spence project.  

It will report the most cost effective way to build the bridge and new approaches to it.  That study should be done next month.  

Michael Keating

After hearing from residents opposed to using tolls to pay for the Brent Spence Bridge project,  the Kenton County Fiscal Court has passed a resolution expressing its opposition as well. Tuesday night's vote was unanimous. 

"Someone mentioned earlier, back in the '50's, we were able to build an interstate highway system.  Now we can't even build one bridge that is of national significance; and certainly that ought to be a highest priority for our federal government,"  said Commissioner Jon Draud.

WVXU

Funding for a new Brent Spence Bridge will include tolls, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and governors from Ohio and Kentucky who gathered Wednesday in Covington. But that doesn't mean everyone is on board with the idea.

As Ohio Governor John Kasich stood beside his Kentucky counterpart announcing the states would be working together to build a new bridge, he didn't shy away from letting a roomful of officials and reporters know that a toll would be part of it.

Michael Keating

A group aiming to speed up the timeline and reduce the cost of replacing the Brent Spence Bridge is stepping up public awareness efforts.

The Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition is advocating a public-private partnership to replace the aging Brent Spence. The group believes with corporate involvement and federal funding and cooperation, the bridge can be replaced more quickly and for less.