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$3.6B Brent Spence Bridge clears environmental review

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Dive Brief:

  • The $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project has passed a federal environmental review, clearing construction to move ahead “in the coming months,” the U.S. DOT announced Friday. 
  • Brent Spence spans the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky, and is part of a major transportation corridor that carries over $1 billion in freight daily. The project aims to overhaul an eight-mile section of the I-71/I-75 corridor and build a new companion bridge to the west of the existing structure.
  • The Federal Highway Administration’s environmental assessment of the project resulted in a “Finding of No Significant Impact,” according to the project website. The project will be built without tolls. 

Dive Insight:

President Joe Biden put a spotlight on the Brent Spence Bridge when he visited in 2023 and called attention to its status as one of the most congested freight routes in the country, making it a weak link in the supply chain. I-75 is a key freight corridor stretching from Canada to Florida.

The cost of the companion bridge and updates to the existing bridge will be split by Ohio and Kentucky, with each paying for the approach work in their respective states, according to the project website. The current cost estimates are $2 billion for Ohio and $1.6 billion for Kentucky.

The project received $1.6 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, according to the DOT.

“This bridge is a vital connector of goods to thousands of people in Kentucky and Ohio, and the investment in the Brent Spence Bridge will ensure the surrounding communities, and communities across the entire country, benefit from these improvements for decades to come,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt in the release.  

A joint venture of Chicago-based Walsh Construction and Westerville, Ohio-based Kokosing Construction was awarded a progressive design-build contract in August 2023 to rehabilitate the existing double-deck bridge and build the new companion span.

Dallas-based Jacobs Solutions will lead the design of the 1-mile Ohio segment and serve as the independent companion bridge engineer, performing design checks of the new river crossing, according to the company. The project’s lead designer and engineer of record for the new companion bridge is Dallas-based AECOM.

The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project will be built in phases and is scheduled to be complete by 2032, per the project website.

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