Ohio and Kentucky are working together to apply for grants that would fund a no-tolls bridge to help ease the strain on the aging, yet crucial, Brent Spence Bridge.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced their plans to apply for two federal grants totaling up to $2 billion on Monday, February 28th. If awarded the grants, the funds would be used to build a new bridge allowing traffic from Interstate 71 and 75 to cross the Ohio River without tolls. The grants would also fund repairs and improvement to the current Brent Spence Bridge, reported The Enquirer.
These improvement plans come just a few years after the fiery 2020 semi truck hazmat crash that shut down the bridge for weeks, wreaking havoc on the important transportation corridor and proving the need for an updated route. Additionally, the Brent Spence Bridge, built in 1963, was built to handle 80,000 vehicles a day, but now is used by twice that number, and was even declared ‘functionally obsolete’ by the Federal Highway Administration back in the 90s because of its overused narrow lanes and lack of emergency shoulder.
“We believe that there is no bridge in this country that is as necessary and in need of a change,” DeWine said.
The Biden Administration’s recent infrastructure allocates $39 billion specifically for bridges, along with several other grant opportunities that the bridge project would qualify for. Both states will apply for the grants as a team once the USDOT announces the procedure for the application process. The application is expected to be submitted in the next few months and a final decision on finding could be reached by the fall of 2023.