Brent Spence Bridge

Actions

Northern Kentucky homeowners 'cautiously optimistic' about new Brent Spence Bridge corridor project

Brent Spence Bridge companion project renderings
Posted at 11:25 PM, Dec 01, 2022

FORT WRIGHT, Ky. — Thursday's meeting to discuss the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project wasn't Lou Wartman's first rodeo.

“Coming here, I thought here we go again. It would be just like the other meetings,” said Wartman, a Fort Wright homeowner of 27 years.

Like many, he has sat through many meetings and many attempts at a possible fix for the Brent Spence Bridge corridor. He said this latest project feels different.

“They’ve really dug deeper into it, I think,” he said. “Came out with a better plan.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) are conducting a series of neighborhood outreach meetings for the project, showing renderings of what could soon come.

“The fact that they’re meeting in all the neighborhoods is a great idea.” Marc Wolnitzek said. “A lot of information available for everyone to look at, to see the maps, and details that haven’t been out there yet.”

A double-decker companion bridge would be constructed west of the Brent Spence Bridge, acting as a bypass bridge. The Brent Spence Bridge would be used for local traffic to exits in Covington and downtown Cincinnati.

Homeowners like Julie Rowekamp shared concerns about the project.

“I’m concerned about the people making decisions as to do I get off, do I get on?” Rowekamp said.

KYTC officials said drivers will have to make the decision on which bridge they want to take when driving northbound on I-71/75 at the bottom of the Cut in the Hill.

Brent Spence corridor project renderings

Rowekamp said her biggest concern was focused on how many properties would be demolished for right-of-way purposes.

“To find out how much property were they taking away from businesses and residences in this area,” she said.

KYTC officials said the space saved due to the companion bridge being a double-decker will allow for fewer homes and businesses to be torn down for right-of-way purposes. The original design would’ve required 40 homes to be torn down. The current design means four homes and five commercial buildings will be demolished.

Wartman’s property is adjacent to the highway. He said his concern was focused on noise.

“We’re probably in the noisiest area. I talked to him about the noise. He said where we’re at, we’d benefit the most by the walls,” he said.

KYTC officials say groundbreaking for the project could be as soon as November 2023 with construction beginning in early 2024; however, that timeline hinges on federal grants being approved. Officials said they expect to know if the funds were approved by the end of the month.

Officials said it would take around five years to complete the project. Homeowners remain cautiously optimistic.

“I think it’s coming,” said Wartman. “I gave up fighting it a long time ago. It’s coming. That’s the way it is. Hopefully, with the design they give, the impact won’t be that great.”

READ MORE
Revised designs for Brent Spence makes companion bridge highway traffic only, local traffic on existing bridge
New Brent Spence Bridge could bring more jobs, businesses to region
Fort Wright residents want noise barrier ahead of highway expansion in Brent Spence project