Bridge brings far-stretching problems


MCT Campus

ACROSS THE RIVER. The Brent Spence Bridge that links downtown Cincinnati to Kentucky has posed severe safety concerns to those in the area. Between decay and accidents, the bridge is in need of repairs or reconstruction. Former president Barack Obama discussed the American Jobs Act, Sept. 22, 2011 in front of the Brent Spence Bridge.

The Brent Spence Bridge that links downtown Cincinnati to Kentucky has shown issues in the past; but as the times keep rolling, the troubles keep growing.

“On top of the traffic issues, the most recent inspection reports show rust, cracks, and decay worsening on the span that carries nearly 186,000 vehicles a day on Interstates 71 and 75 over the Ohio River between Covington and downtown Cincinnati,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The bridge is frequently congested and is home to many traffic accidents, part of which stems from the fact that too many cars utilize the bridge in daily travel.

“When it opened in November 1963 with only three lanes, the Brent Spence was initially designed to handle 80,000 vehicles. When a fourth lane was added in 1985, its capacity was raised to 120,000.

The most recent data shows the Brent Spence’s daily traffic reached 185,000-plus vehicles in 2015,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The constant traffic is not new; as more cars and trucks travel across the bridge, it opens up more chances for severe crashes.

“2015 also saw an all-time high in accidents at 121 – more than 2.3 per week on average. All told, accidents were up 52 percent between 2010-2015 compared with the previous six years,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The bridge’s worsening conditions pose safety issues to all in the area as the rust and decay spread throughout the infrastructure, causing large pieces of debris to fall.

The future of the bridge has yet to be determined as transportation officials are still trying to figure out a long-term solution to its dangers. One of the main issues is funding; costs to rebuild or fix parts of the bridge are immense and state leaders cannot agree on a method of paying for the repairs.

The idea of using tolls was brought up to help aid the cost issues associated with the bridge; however, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin strongly opposed the idea, thus the project was brought back to the drawing board.

Other proposed alternatives include the creation of a bypass between Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, which would help aid economic development, however its costs would exceed that of the bridge.

“This summer, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet starts a $38 million rehab project on the 53-year-old Brent Spence Bridge. While details haven’t been finalized, the project will primarily take place at night to alleviate traffic issues but will include lane closings each year,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.