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Ohio, Kentucky Receive Environmental OK for Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project

Tue May 21, 2024 - Midwest Edition #11
Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project


BrentSpenceBridgeCorridor.com rendering

On May 9, Gov. Mike DeWine joined Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to announce that the states have received federal environmental approval to move the $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project forward, without tolls.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a decision that concludes the federal environmental review, allowing the project to advance to design and construction.

"This is an important step forward in bringing efficiency to our nation's supply chain. The project will address one of the worst truck bottlenecks in the nation by improving safety and travel on an interstate connection that carries more than $400 billion worth of freight every year," said DeWine. "It's also a big step in reducing the frustration and inconvenience drivers have experienced in the corridor for more than 20 years."

"The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project is a testament to what can happen when we work together to get things done," said Beshear. "The federal approval is a major milestone for us, and we're grateful to all our partners and communities for their feedback. We look forward to completing this project, which will further boost our economic growth and create more good jobs for our families."

FHWA's determination with the "Finding of No Significant Impact," or FONSI, is based on a supplemental environmental assessment conducted by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The assessment evaluated the social, economic and environmental effects of the project as well as measures to mitigate unavoidable impacts. The decision is also based on FHWA's consideration of public and agency comments received during the public comment period.

KYTC and ODOT have conducted 16 neighborhood meetings and two open house events since late 2022 to solicit comments on the project plan. In addition, five public hearings were conducted in February, providing the public an opportunity to comment on the project's supplemental environmental assessment. The project team maintains a project website, social media presence, monthly e-newsletters and regular news releases. Each of these communication channels enables the project team to keep the public informed while providing opportunities for residents and interested parties to share feedback.

"We will continue to engage with community members and listen to their feedback to obtain the best outcome for the people who rely on the corridor," said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. "The Federal Highway Administration's approval is important but so, too, is the quality of life for residents in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky."

"Stakeholder participation has been invaluable to the project team as we make plans to deliver a transportation solution that will benefit communities and all road users," said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. "Their voices, and the voices of everyone in the region, have and will continue to play an important role in making this project a success for residents on both sides of the river."

Formed early in the development process, a project advisory committee, comprising representatives from government agencies, community groups and local businesses, has worked to align the project with regional and community needs. KYTC and ODOT also formed an aesthetics committee to provide comments on the new companion bridge design and aesthetic appearance, as well as related roadway improvements in Ohio and Kentucky. There also were three separate aesthetic subcommittees that were engaged to discuss aesthetic treatments in specific geographic areas, such as Ohio, Covington and Ft. Wright/Ft. Mitchell. A diversity and inclusion committee, meanwhile, helps to assure intentional and deliberate workforce and business opportunities are created that reflect the rich diversity of the region.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, agencies must consider the environmental impacts of their actions and decisions for federally funded projects. The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project was awarded $1.6 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Investment Act in December of 2022.

A supplemental environmental assessment was required for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project to assess updated regulatory requirements, changed site conditions and other considerations since 2012, when the project's original environmental assessment was approved.

The Brent Spence Bridge was constructed in the 1960s to carry approximately 80,000 vehicles a day, but the daily I-75/I-71 traffic load has reached 160,000 vehicles in recent years. Because I-75 is a key freight corridor stretching from Canada to Florida, the congestion impacts commerce and commuters who travel the corridor in the eastern United States.

Stretching from the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio to Dixie Highway in Kentucky, the $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project will be built without tolls and transform an 8-mi. portion of the I-75/71 interstate corridor, including a new companion bridge immediately to the west of the existing bridge. More information about the project is available at BrentSpenceBridgeCorridor.com.




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