By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer
FLORENCE - Federal money once earmarked for an Ohio River bridge between Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati will be spent to upgrade Northern Kentucky's major industrial corridor.
Kentucky U.S. Jim Bunning delivered $10 million of that money Wednesday to county and city officials in Boone and Kenton County. It will be used for a two-year reconstruction project of Industrial Road, which cuts through two counties, three cities and serves 200 companies and more than 14,000 employees.
Bids on the project will be let in April and will include the construction of new lanes, turn lanes, sidewalks and bike paths on Industrial Road from U.S. 42 to Turkeyfoot Road, said engineer Jay Bayer of Bayer Becker, the Covington firm designing the project.
Bunning, a Southgate Republican running for re-election, said he was able to tap a fund of $62 million that several years ago was allocated for construction of an Ohio River bridge. The project fizzled after Ohio and Cincinnati officials could not agree on a location for the bridge.
Most of the money was then spent on other projects, including ramps for Interstate 471 and the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and a new Ohio River bridge in Maysville.The final $10 million will be spent on the $15 million Industrial Road project.
"We can get it done over here" in Kentucky, Bunning said. "We were able to make it work ... because of co-operation on all levels."
Two million dollars will come from local governments, the Boone and Kenton county fiscal courts and the cities of Florence, Elsmere and Independence. The state will provide $3 million.
Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore said the project would do more than just improve traffic flow on Industrial Road. It will also help attract new companies to the massive Northern Kentucky Industrial Park.
Moore said some of the buildings on and near Industrial Road are empty and dated. The project will help "revitalize" the area, he said.
Florence Mayor Diane Whalen called the project "the ultimate in co-operation" between federal, state, county and city governments.
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