3:37pm

Thu October 3, 2013
The Commonwealth

Tolls Would Also Fund New Northern Kentucky Bridge

Interstates 75/71 as they pass over the Brent Spence Bridge from Northern Kentucky and into Cincinnati.
Interstates 75/71 as they pass over the Brent Spence Bridge from Northern Kentucky and into Cincinnati.
Credit Friscocali / Flickr, Creative Commons

Kentucky and Ohio transportation officials are working to finance a new interstate bridge linking Covington with Cincinnati.  Officials from both states released a report identifying funding options today.  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Chuck Wolfe says the 50 year old Brent Spence remains sound and would still carry northbound I-71 traffic.

“Right beside it would be built this new bridge to carry all of I-75 plus southbound traffic of I-71, it’s a like the Brent Spence, it’s a two deck bridge,” said Wolfe.

Over three percent of the nation’s gross domestic product crosses over the Brent Spence each year.  Plus, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Chuck Wolfe says truck traffic is expected to increase.

“There is a lot of truck traffic there and showing no signs of decrease, so the need for more capacity across the river there where for I-75 and I-71 is pretty much agreed upon,” added Wolfe.

Chuck Wolfe says tolls will probably cover some of the costs.

“Tolls don’t pay the entire cost and there’s already been a considerable amount of money spent on preliminary design work and other things, but tolls are necessary to close the gap between what available from traditional sources of highway funding and what the actual cost of the project is,” explained Wolfe.

A financing plan for the $2.5 billion project must be submitted to Kentucky lawmaker before year’s end.  Work could begin in 2015.