HEBRON, Ky. — The first phase of operations at Amazon's new air hub and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is about two years away, but road construction -- in anticipation of Amazon's arrival -- will start this year.
"We have almost a quarter of a billion dollars worth of projects happening this year in Northern Kentucky," said Nancy Wood, spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, District 6, which includes northern Kentucky.
Amazon is expected to break ground in May on its $1.5 billion air hub at CVG. A number of road upgrades are planned to accommodate the additional traffic.
"In and around the airport, we're currently constructing and designing a highway system that will accommodate the vehicular traffic," said Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore. "A major project like Prime Air makes it even more important to be able to relieve congestion and improve the flow of traffic."
Boone County residents and drivers passing through will see a number of construction projects near the airport and in close proximity to the Amazon site. Donaldson Highway and Mineola Pike are both slated for major upgrades.
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"Those are specifically to accommodate the Prime Air project," Moore said. Both Donaldson and Mineola Pike will be expanded to five lanes with two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane.
"We're working on that design now. So, it will be from Donaldson up to Mineola, and from Mineola over to I-275," Wood said, adding that a funding and construction timetable has not been set yet.
Meanwhile, a brand new interchange at Interstate 275 and Graves Road appears to be moving in the fast lane.
"The whole idea here about a new interchange is normally, they take a long time to build," said Mark Policinski, chief executive officer at the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Council of Regional Governments. "But, because we have the clock ticking on Amazon Prime, all these projects have to be fast forwarded."
The Graves Road interchange will be a $30 million construction project. Work is expected to begin this fall.
"It's bringing big growth to northern Kentucky and Boone County," Wood said. "The infrastructure will need to try to keep up with all of this growth."
The anticipated increase in traffic will be twofold. First, additional trucks will be transporting Amazon shipments to and from the new air hub. Second, thousands of workers will need to get to, from and around the Amazon air hub and CVG.
"This is a microcosm of that much larger problem. How do we get all of these people to these brand new jobs and get them home again?" Policinski said.
Officials with OKI and Boone County have analyzed the origins of airport employees.
"When we look at DHL, when we look at Delta, we look at their workforce and we run those zip codes of where they live, you can anticipate that the additional jobs will likely be similar," Moore said. Numbers show a large portion of the workforce at and around the airport live in Ohio.
"Once it's complete, it's definitely going to be a big improvement for businesses and people who live here," Wood said.