Drivers, prepare for the next round of changes to your Brent Spence commute. The good news: This should be one of the last major traffic changes before the bridge reopens to full capacity. The bad news: It will mean another weekend of major traffic headaches.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced Wednesday the next traffic pattern change it will implement on the bridge carrying Interstates 71 and 75 over the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington. The traffic changes are part of an ongoing, months-long maintenance and repainting project on the bridge.
Disruptions this weekend
In order to implement the lane changes, crews will need to close additional lanes and traffic exits between Friday, Aug. 20 and Sunday, Aug. 22.
The long and short of it: Avoid using the bridge if you're traveling northbound Friday night into Saturday, especially if you're trying to continue onto I-71 or I-75 North.
Here's a breakdown of where bridge drivers will be able to get and when throughout the weekend:
- Northbound lanes will reduce to ONE lane both Friday and Saturday nights.
- Access from the bridge to I-75 north will be CLOSED Friday night into early Saturday morning.
- Access from the bridge to I-71 north will be CLOSED late Saturday morning, reopening by noon.
Here's a rough timeline of the lane and access closure:
- Beginning 10 p.m. Friday, the bridge's lower, northbound deck will reduce to one lane of traffic.
- Also at 10 p.m. Friday, access from the bridge to I-75 northbound will be CLOSED until Saturday morning.
- Once crews reopen access to I-75 northbound, they immediately will close the bridge's access to I-71 northbound. Access to I-71 is expected to reopen later Saturday.
- Overnight Friday, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., law enforcement will implement rolling roadblocks on I-71/75 northbound. Police will hold traffic in 15-minute intervals to allow road crews to safely establish the new traffic patterns.
- By noon Saturday, two lanes of northbound travel will be restored (the left two lanes).
- Overnight Saturday, the northbound deck will again be reduced to one lane as crews finalize their work.
- By 6 a.m. Sunday, the new traffic pattern — the two left lanes open — will be set into place.
New traffic pattern
For the last several weeks, the middle two northbound lanes on the bridge's lower deck have been closed, leaving only the outer two lanes open to access I-71 on the right and I-75 on the left.
By Sunday, only the two left lanes will be open.
That traffic pattern on the lower deck should remain in place until the project is complete in November, weather permitting, according to KYTC officials.
There will be no change to the upper deck's southbound lanes: The two right lanes will remain open, and the two left lanes will remain closed. A change to the upper deck's traffic pattern will take place leading up to the project's completion.