Saturday, September 20, 2003

Kentucky: Spence Bridge is a priority

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Kentucky state highway officials said Friday that renovating or replacing the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River at Cincinnati is now one of their top priorities and they want federal approval within six years for whatever project is selected

"We've definitely reconsidered," said John Carr, deputy highway engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet from the central office in Frankfort. Kentucky owns and maintains the 40-year-old bridge carrying Interstates 71/75 across the river. Thursday, the cabinet's regional chief district engineer Sam Beverage told a group of Northern Kentucky political and business leaders that the project was not at the top of the list for the state in the upcoming federal transportation funding cycle.

And Carr acknowledged that the state is seeking major funding for new bridges and a new interstate interchange in Louisville - as well as two new interstates planned to go through the state.

But he said top cabinet officials had a change of heart earlier this week after discussing the issue with their counterparts in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has already asked that state's agency that oversees major highway spending for $12 million to help cover the $250 million for Ohio's portion.


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