Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Covington holding special meeting on Brent Spence alternative

The City of Covington has scheduled a special meeting to discuss tweaks to a proposed Brent Spence Bridge project alternative this evening at 6 P.M. at Commission Chambers, 638 Madison Avenue.

The focus will be on Alternative I, recommended as the preferred alternative by the project team in a 212-page Environmental Assessment study document released last month.

A second alternative, Alternative E, would eliminate direct access to Covington's riverfront businesses.

Although Covington leaders believe that Alternative I is obviously the better of the two choices, they do have several reservations:
  • Northbound motorists would not have direct access to 5th Street, instead exiting at 12th Street and traveling on a new, one-way road through several traffic signals.
  • Southbound motorists would have access to both 5th Street and 9th Street, but would have to decide on those exits a full mile north of the Ohio River, near Ezzard Charles Drive. The next available exit would be Kyles Lane in Fort Wright.
  • The connection from Pike Street to Lewis Street would be lost, eliminating a major access point to Devou Park. Montague Street would need to be converted to a two-way street to serve as a new access point to the park.
  • Connections to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge should be retained, as they are being considered for removal from the alternative.
  • Goebel Pool would become unusable due to increased noise. The City would like compensation or relocation.
No alternative has been selected, but the Federal Highway Administration could give final environmental approval by the end of July.

Further public meetings will be held April 24 at Longworth Hall and April 25 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. Both meetings will take place between 5 P.M. and 8 P.M.

Covington officials are encouraging public comment, as it will become part of the official project record.

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.

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

Previous reading on BC:
Renderings: Brent Spence Bridge corridor (3/30/12)
Brent Spence team released Environmental Assessment study (3/26/12)
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)