CINCINNATI (AP) — Kentucky and Ohio will receive more than $1.63 billion in federal grants to help build a new Ohio River bridge near Cincinnati and improve an existing congested span, a heavily used freight route that connects the Midwest and the South, officials announced. faces on Thursday. .
Congestion on the Brent Spence Bridge on Interstates 75 and 71 has been a traveler’s frustration for years, a bottleneck on a key shipping corridor, and thus a symbol of the nation’s growing infrastructure needs. Officials say the bridge was built in the 1960s to carry about 80,000 vehicles a day, but traffic on its narrow lanes has doubled, leading the Federal Highway Administration to declare it functionally obsolete.
The planned project spans about 8 miles (12 kilometers) and includes improvements to the bridge and some connecting roads, as well as the construction of an auxiliary span nearby. The two states agreed to a funding request in a bipartisan infrastructure deal signed last year by President Joe Biden, a Democrat who touted the project during the bill’s consideration.
The accompanying bridge “will be one of the major achievements of the bill,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Thursday.
Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear called the funding “one of the largest grants in U.S. history” and said it would help build a new bridge without tolls.
Officials expect work to begin in late 2023 and hope to complete most of the work by 2029.
“Ohio and Kentucky have been discussing the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project for nearly two decades, and now we can finally move beyond the talk and get to work,” Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said.
Ohio and Kentucky are also spending state dollars on the project. Its estimated total cost has risen to about $3.6 billion due to inflation and rising construction costs, officials said.