COVINGTON, Ky. -- Hundreds of thousands of Tri-State commuters will be affected as lanes of the Brent Spence Bridge will close this week for about two months.
Scheduled maintenance work on the bridge will close lanes and impact ramps and traffic flow, according to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials.
Crews began setting up Friday night. By Saturday morning, two lanes of Interstate 71/75 were closed in each direction.
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Discussions regarding construction of a new bridge are unrelated to the maintenance work, officials said in a news release.
Hunter Hebert drives over the Brent Spence daily. He says the bridge is already a “nightmare” during rush hour, but he’s grateful for any repairs to the structure.
"It's needed repair. Everyone in town knows it's needed repair. I think the country at this point knows now it's needed repair,” Hebert said.
The Brent Spence Bridge was built to support about 80,000 to 100,000 vehicles per day. It currently carries twice that volume. Officials said the bridge is “structurally-sound and remains viable for long-term use.”
Tom Harten, of Cincinnati, said he thinks the construction will impact traffic not only near the bridge, but up and down the interstate.
He said he plans to avoid the Brent Spence altogether. He said he’ll take Interstate 471 once maintenance work begins.
"I think a lot of people are going to take the detours and try to cut through town,” he said.
Main streets in Covington may see more traffic as a result of the construction.
Bob Yeager, chief district engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, shared that the maintenance work could be "good news" if it creates worse traffic jams.
"The good news is if traffic backs up more than six miles, they're already at 275 and they can get off there," Yeager said.
Fort Mitchell Fire Chief Gary Auffart is concerned about access to crashes and victims, then navigating the traffic with patients.
"The biggest concern for us is transporting to the hospitals in Cincinnati, especially Children's Hospital and UC," Auffart said.
Hebert said the best way around it could be a different perspective.
"If it takes me an extra five minutes to get somewhere, I'm pretty mellow. It is what it is,” he said.
For up-to-date information visit the transportation department website.