COVINGTON, Ky. — The city of Covington and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet reached an agreement that will make the construction of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project a little less painful to residents and businesses in the area.
The bridge,built in 1963, was meant to carry 80,000 cars a day. Currently, the Brent Spence Bridge carries nearly double that. Kentucky and Ohio came together to work on making the bridge safer and more efficient for commuters crossing the bridge daily.
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, led the negotiation for the City, called the agreement a monumental victory for Covington residents and businesses. The agreement comes after the city successful fought against adding tolls to the bridge to pay for the $2.8 billion project.
Infrastructure improvements around the bridge will include several commitments from the state.
“Meyer said it will “reduce the width of the driving companion bridge by over 40 %. It’s a 61 and a half foot reduction in the driving width of that bridge.They’ve reduced the additional right of way that was necessary by 10 acres, another 40 plus percent reduction in right of way acquisition.”
This reduction means less stress on businesses and homeowners in the area. He said it reduces relocations.
“So a lot of people’s lives will not be disrupted because the transportation cabinet has been so responsive to the issues that have been raised by the City of Covington and there were 25 houses scheduled to be taken as part of the project that now will not be taken so we’re maintaining our housing stock,” Meyer said.
The agreement also means for a new and separate storm water drainage system that might ease flooding issues in the area. It also allows for upgrading city streets to improve traffic flow during construction, such as the intersections of 4th and Main and 5th and Main Street. A project director is aso being hired to act as a technical liaison to the city on the bridge project. Meyer said it will also help reconnect some areas of the city that became disconnected because of the highways.
“The cabinet will be looking at the aesthetics and try to make those underpasses safer, better lit, more walkable, more useable for pedestrians, so we can work to reconnect both sides of the city despite the division caused by the expressway,” Meyer said.
As a part of the agreement, Covington will get to play a more active role in the design and build project.
“It is inevitable that changes will be made as the contractors go forward as the project moves forward so this is going to require a lot of diligence and a lot of engagement and a lot of retention over the next seven years,” Meyer said.
Meyer said the goal i s to award the contract for the project and begin construction at the end 2023, with the project being completed by 2029.