Improvement of the bridge situation was made a top local issue in2002.   Since then wheels have been set in motion and alongwith the bridge nearly twenty miles between it and I-275 are planned tobe radically reconfigured by 2015.  How the existing bridge andhighway will be modified and what new items might be constructedhave not been decided upon, and at this inchoate point almost anythingimaginable is still on the table.  What is certain is that the safety and capacity of the river crossing and I-75 will be improved.  The Brent Spence Bridge might be replaced by a larger bridge or a pair of medium-sized ones, or it might carry on alongside a new I-75 bridge as I-71's crossing, withthe I-75/71 junction moved south of the river to Covington. 

The old B&O Warehouse might be partially demolished to make way for a new bridge approach.
[Jake Mecklenborg August 1, 2005]


An excerpt from the 1/30/04 Cincinnati Post:
An advisory committee to the projectlooked at the six preliminary options this week that conceptualizeapproximatelocations for the bridge to begin analyzing the rough cost and impactonthe dense city property each might have.

"They're called scenarios. They're toobroad-brushedto be called alternatives at this point," said Lee Flischel, immediatepast chairman of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce who attendedthe Wednesday advisory committee meeting.

The scenarios are:

1. A new bridge to the west of BrentSpence thatwould carry I-75 and a refurbished Brent
Spence for I-71 and local traffic. The newbridgewould be built west of the historic Longworth
Hall and the Cinergy electricity substation.

2. A new bridge west of Longworth andCinergyto carry I-71 and I-75, leaving local
traffic on the Brent Spence.

3. New bridges on each side of Brent Spence,one for each interstate, with an option to refurbish
or raze the Brent Spence after the new bridgesare open.

4. A new bridge to the west to carry alltraffic.

5. A new bridge to the west with acompletelynew interchange in Cincinnati, removing the Brent Spence.

6. Separating the interstates on two bridgesthat would use existing approaches. I-75 would be
placed on the new bridge, and I-71 would useeither a rehabbed Brent Spence or a second new
bridge that would replace the Brent Spence.

The #5 alternative would bring the most dramatic change to the city,requiringreconstruction of the 6th St. Expressway and the purchase of manybuildingsin the Queensgate industrial complex.  However, this considerableexpense would be offset by the reclamation of much land currentlyoccupiedby expressways, and the development of 6-8 new city blocks on thesouthwesternedge of downtown.  This is the area where the convention centerwasin the 1990's proposed to expand over I-75 and with the existingexpresswaysremoved, the expansion could be built less expensively and with a moredesirable layout.

[scenario #5 has been eliminated fromconsideration-- 4/17/04]

Below are rasterized jpeg files of the pdf's that appeared in the2/2/04online version of the Cincinnati Post.  They each showmuchmore than the above graphics and are roughly 1.5mb in size:

1.  Scenario1
2.  Scenario2
3.  Scenario3
4.  Scenario4
5.  Scenario5
6.  Scenario6

Brent Spence Tunnel?
A tunnel could significantly reduce the cost and hassle of properlyacquisition and business relocation in the Queensgate industrialcomplexand to a lesser extent the Covington riverfront.  However, as canbe seen in the diagram below, a subterranean Queensgate approach wouldresult in a tunnel of exceptional length.  Assuming portals inGoebel'sPark in Covington and Ezzard Charles Drive in Cincinnati, this "BrentSpenceTunnel" would measure 9,500-10,500ft. -- the combined length ofPittsburgh'sFt. Pitt and Liberty Tunnels, and as much as a quarter mile longer thanthe Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, New York City's longest.  This tunnelwould in fact be the longest urban expressway tunnel in the country,withthe exception of Boston's recently completed I-93/I-90 tunnels. Additionally,nearly all underwater and bored tunnels are limited to two-lane tubes,an obvious disadvantage as compared to any bridge option.

A hypothetical "Brent Spence Tunnel" -- be aware that this diagramwas drawn by JakeMecklenborg and was
not an officially published graphic!   ClickHere for a larger version of this diagram.

                         Brent Spence tunnel option too expensive
                            Ask a question  2/5/04

                            By Dave Hofmeister
                            The Cincinnati Enquirer

                            Question: Replacing the Brent Spence Bridge with a
                            tunnel might be a very cost-effective and far-reaching
                            economic development solution. Will a study be
                            undertaken as an alternative to just replacing the
                            bridge? Today's technology and engineering learned in
                            part through the "Big Dig" project in Boston might
                            reduce the costs and provide a multitude of long-term
                            gains for the region.

                            E.H. Luttrell, West Chester
                            Answer: The idea of digging a tunnel under the Ohio
                            River rather than building a new span was considered,
                            a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet official said.

                            But the idea was quickly ruled out because the cost is
                            too high, said Mike Bezold, acting branch manager for
                            pre-construction at the District 6 office in

                            Transportation Cabinet officials estimated it would
                            cost $1 billion to tunnel under the river, rather than
                            the estimated $750 million to replace the bridge.

                            Add in the higher maintenance costs for a ventilation
                           system and lights, Bezold said, and a tunnel becomes

                            Question: Concerning daily traffic congestion on the
                            Brent Spence Bridge: Why not reroute the Interstate 71
                            vehicles going north in Kentucky to I-275 East to
                            I-471 North? This traffic could then cross the river
                            via the Big Mac and go from I-471 in Ohio to I-71
                            North. Why wouldn't it work?

                            Roger Koch, Oxford
                            Answer: The stumbling block here is the Daniel Carter
                            Beard Bridge, also known as the Big Mac.

                            Bezold said that the Big Mac, just like the Brent
                            Spence, already is handling more traffic than it was
                            designed for - for the Big Mac, about one-third more.
                            Emergency lanes have been taken out on both to
                            accommodate more traffic, but this carries a risk.

News Archive
Cincinnati Post 1/25/03  BrentSpence: It Won't Last Forever
Cincinnati Post 3/9/00 BrentSpence Bridge has to go

1. RecentBrent Spence Bridge Photos

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