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Sunday, September 28, 2003

Readers pose solutions to ease traffic on Brent Spence bridge



The following are reader responses to the Sept. 21-22 series looking at the long-term viability of the Brent Spence Bridge.

Why not just make I-471 part of I-71?

I have thought of a simple and extremely inexpensive way of taking some of the load off of the Brent Spence Bridge. The only expense, believe it or not, would be signs.

Out-of-towners traveling through Cincinnati might want to follow a certain numbered route and not make detours. Therefore, those transiting Interstate 71 would take it through the Lytle Tunnel, across Fort Washington Way, and over the Brent Spence Bridge. If I-71 were rerouted over the path of the current Interstate 471 and then across Interstate 275, joining up with I-71 where I-275 currently intersects I-75 in Kentucky, this would not only take much traffic off the Brent Spence Bridge, but also out of the hazardous Lytle Tunnel and off Fort Washington Way.

This would eliminate I-471 as a numbered route, as it would be totally incorporated into the rerouted I-71, and would tend to make Fort Washington Way into a local feeder route, not well known by out-of-towners. It could, conceivably, be given the now-defunct name of I-471, but it might be better not to give it an interstate designation, such that through traffic would be encouraged to avoid it.

Barry Austern, Blue Ash

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Build a better road and keep the bridge

I have enjoyed the articles on the Brent Spence Bridge. I would like some articles on imaginative engineering solutions.

Could we keep the bridge and ramps as they are and provide a new route for through traffic? Start away from the river and construct a tunnel, then merge it with the current road.

Or build one of those rainbow bridges you see along the East Coast barrier islands for through traffic. Even if another bridge is built beside the current structure, sacrificing Longworth Hall, just use it for through traffic.

The through-traffic method saves a dozen realignments, and makes it much easier for people exiting and entering, who only have to merge into through traffic from a straighter and larger highway.

Peter Berninger, Lebanon

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Foresight was lacking when bridge was built

They don't make things like they used to. This apparently applies to bridges. The Central Bridge was replaced by the Taylor-Southgate Bridge a couple of years ago after about 110 years of service. The Roebling Suspension Bridge is still in service and is still serving well after more than 100 years. Both bridges were built in the days of horses and buggies and have required only reinforcing to accommodate automobiles and trucks.

I fail to understand the apparent lack of foresight in the design of the Brent Spence Bridge resulting in the need of total replacement after only about 40 years. Add to this the fact that extensive revamping of the ramps on the Ohio end of the bridge was performed just a few years ago to provide room for the Great American Ball Park, and it appears that progress is fraught with lack of foresight.

Ned Bishop, Fort Thomas

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Build new routes to make outer loop

Relieving congestion means providing alternatives. Let's build on the good that we already have in place. Let's look closer at the regional needs that have already been documented:

Kentucky's new racetrack doesn't seem to be a fad. Care to risk taking a position that other businesses will seek this area and provide economic growth the general area?

• Draw a line from the existing Interstate 275 bridge in Indiana toward Louisville. A lot of Interstate 71 traffic has just bypassed Cincinnati.

• Likewise, from the I-275/Interstate 74 junction, draw a line/ring around/above the existing loop to rejoin I-71. All "through" I-71 traffic has just been taken off existing congested routes.

• And, since part of the second ring that was just drawn had crossed I-75, we've just provided alternate relief to the existing I-275 section between I-71 and I-75.

Growth to the east (Batavia/New Richmond) has been impressive, and people have been begging for another bridge in that area.

• Strategically place a bridge and direct the traffic to the existing I-71/I-75 split. This provides an alternate relief route for the existing section between the split and the Ohio state line.

• Now connect this bridge via a line/ring to the new intersection that was added to I-71.

All I-75 "through" traffic has been relieved from the existing routes of the "inner ring," and the newly created "outer ring" provides traffic relief alternatives the region sorely needs.

The "cut in the hill" traffic is safer, since it would be used mostly by local drivers who know its character.

The Brent Spence Bridge has had its life extended by the relief of a very large share of heavy truck traffic.

If I-71 wants to go to Louisville, let it; if I-75 wants to go to Lexington, let it.

Norm Wright, Maineville




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