Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cincinnati endorses Brent Spence project policy guidelines

Cincinnati City Council has adopted a report and policy guidelines for the further advancement of the $2 billion-plus Brent Spence Bridge project.

The City drafted the policy guidelines to inform any local decisions it might need to make on the preferred alternatives, including coordination with intermodal and other infrastructure, the roadway's operations and function, aesthetics and design, economic development, public safety, and environmental and green elements.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has settled on the advancement of a hybrid of four different preferred alternatives (C, D, E and G)and appears to have dropped any possibility of a new Ohio River bridge through Queensgate.

Any alternative would consist of three through-lanes in each direction.

In a recent report on the project's Conceptual Alternatives Study, city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. says that the City wants through-lanes better distinguished from auxiliary lanes, and that the terms "auxiliary lanes", "collector-distributor", ramps and local roadway networks be more clearly defined.

Dohoney said that the City needs these definitions when weighing the alternatives against the City's policy guidelines.

"The City of Cincinnati would like clarification of the definition of a 'collector-distributor', and the design speeds and criteria proposed for these facilities," he said. "The City would like to explore with ODOT how, through aesthetic treatments or context sensitive design principles, to reconcile the design of these auxiliary lanes with the City's criteria."

Dohoney also raised questions about Alternative E, which shows a signalized intersection on the Sixth Street Expressway.

"The City requests clarification about where the limited access highway begins, and where the freeway ends," Dohoney said. "Where an alternative, such as E, would require major alterations to the local street network, like modifying one-way pairs and re-establishing two-way traffic, the City requests that ODOT provide the resources to study these proposals, and that the City be given the opportunity to consider public comment and make policy decisions."

Dohoney also said that ODOT has received the City's concerns about the possible loss of dunnhumbyUSA's new headquarters at 444 W Third Street and is committed to trying to avoid the structure.

Public comments on the Conceptual Alternatives Study ended June 8, and will be forwarded to the Federal Highway Administration for consideration.

The earliest construction work could begin is 2015.

Previous reading on BC:
Hybrid of four Brent Spence alternatives recommended (5/13/09)
Brent Spence open houses to show alternatives this week (5/4/09)
City report: Eliminate intrusive Brent Spence alternatives (10/1/08)
Cincinnati council resolves to save Queensgate businesses, light rail options (3/28/08)
Brent Spence project releases amended schedule (2/27/08)