The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Kentucky
Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) released a study of options for a new Ohio River
bridge between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
The report identifies two options Kentucky and Ohio could consider
as the states continue their work to hammer out a funding plan for building the
The options analysis examined four procurement methods in terms of
cost factors, schedule benefits and market conditions, among others.
Officials say the following two delivery models represented the
most attractive potential options for ODOT and KYTC:
An approach whereby the states finance the project through a possible
combination of federal, state, federal loan and bond funding. Following a
request for proposal, contractors respond with designs and plans and the
selected contractor builds the project. Repayment of loans and bonds
would be made through the collection of tolls.
Payment Concession – A contractor finances and builds the project and is
repaid on a regular schedule over many years. This repayment of
financing the project is by the collection of tolls.
The project involves constructing a second bridge directly to the
west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge to increase safety and relieve some traffic
congestion along Interstates 71 and 75.
KYTC says the existing bridge would be renovated to improve
safety, visibility and other deficiencies.
Nearly eight miles of highway – approximately five in Northern
Kentucky and three in Ohio – would also be improved to accommodate the enhanced
The two-deck Brent Spence Bridge, which opened 50 years ago,
carries both interstate highways across the Ohio River between Cincinnati and
The bridge is structurally sound but classified "functionally
obsolete" because of its narrow lanes, absence of emergency shoulders and
limited visibility on its lower deck.
The study ultimately eliminated two other finance and delivery
– Traditional approach in which the state transportation agency designs a
project and submits it for bids. A contractor is selected and builds the
project. Necessary funding for construction is obtained through
traditional sources of federal and state funds.
Concession – A contractor finances and builds the project and recoups its
costs exclusively through toll revenue. Funding for design,
construction, maintenance and operation of the project is provided by the
According to a Texas Transportation Institute Study, motorists
waste 3.6 million hours of their time and 1.6 million gallons of fuel simply by
sitting in traffic on the current Brent Spence Bridge each year.
Further, more than 3 percent of the nation's gross domestic
product – or $417 billion – crosses the bridge each year and that number is
expected to grow to $830 billion by 2030.