Monday, March 26, 2012

Brent Spence team released Environmental Assessment study

The project team behind the Brent Spence Bridge corridor project has unveiled its 212-page Environmental Assessment studydocument and has made its recommendation on which of two Preferred Alternatives should be advanced.

Based upon the design features, local access, traffic operations, estimated costs, and environmental impacts, Alternative I, a free-flow system that preserves access to 5th Street in Covington, was chosen over Alternative E, a design that relies more heavily on service roads and would have several segments with a level-of-service (LOS) rating of "F".

Although both designs were found to have similar impacts, Alternative I would require five fewer acres of new right-of-way (31.37 acres) and fewer displacements (54, versus 109).

Both alternatives would impact Goebel Park and the Queensgate Playground and Ball Fields, as well as Covington's Lewisburg Historic District and Queensgate's Longworth Hall. They would also impact approximately 3,340 linear feet of intermittent streams, 1.38 acres of wetlands, and habitat for both the Indiana bat and running buffalo clover.

Both alternatives also include the construction of a double-decked bridge west of the current Brent Spence Bridge and reconstruction of the Western Hills Viaduct interchange.

Two types of interchanges were studied: A single point urban interchange (SPUI) and a tight urban diamond interchange (TUDI). The TUDI was chosen both for cost effectiveness and its minimal impact on the West McMicken Avenue Historic District, which is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Cost estimates for the entire 7.8-mile project, from Fort Wright to the Western Hills Viaduct, are approximately $2.6 million.

Public hearings on the project will be held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center on April 24 and at Longworth Hall on April 25. Both meetings will occur between 5 P.M. and 8 P.M.

Opened in 1963 and designed to carry 80,000 vehicles per day, the Brent Spence Bridge is expected to carry approximately twice that much traffic by 2035. Rated as "functionally obsolete", the span suffers from numerous congestion, safety, and design issues.

Construction is still several years away, and funding has yet to be identified. Bridge design is in the third step of a three-step process and has been narrowed down to one arch design and two cable-stayed design alternatives.

Previous reading on BC:
Brent Spence alternatives' noise impacts deemed similar (1/25/11)
Brent Spence concepts soon to be three; New system for Lateral (4/19/10)
Streetcar tentatively awarded $15M, other projects recommended (3/22/10)
Revive I-75 seeks to improve adjacent neighborhoods (11/17/09)
Cincinnati taking action on roadway improvements (11/3/09)