Jack Marchbanks (above at right), director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, recently went on a “walking tour” with Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval (above at left) of neighborhoods around the I-75 corridor — including Linn Street, West Court Street, Ezzard Charles Drive, Winchell Avenue, Wade Walk, and West Liberty Street – that may be impacted by the massive $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge project.
[Above photo by the Ohio DOT]
The city expressed a desire to create an urban feel with the planned connections across I-75 contained within the Brent Spence Bridge project; making the area more accessible and inviting for pedestrians and cyclists. Groundbreaking for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project is expected to take place in late 2023, with construction beginning in earnest in 2024 and completed by 2029.
[Editor’s note: Ohio DOT and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet co-hosted an informational forum about the importance of the Brent Spence Bridge project in 2022. The two states also received $1.6 billion in federal grants in January that helped move the project forward into the construction phase.]
In addition to reconnecting downtown to western neighborhoods, the project team has significantly reduced the footprint of the project, freeing up nearly 10 acres of contiguous developable land for the city. Once the design-build team is named, one of their first tasks will be to look for feasible ways to add to that total.
“I understand the impact of building an interstate highway through a neighborhood home to thousands of minority families,” Marchbanks noted in a statement. “My childhood home in Dayton was taken by the construction of I-75 in the 1960s. This project will help reconnect the West End to downtown by creating new connections and strengthening existing ones across the interstate. As an avid cyclist myself, I am thrilled to see that we’re focused not just on moving vehicles but moving people with all modes of transportation.” “While this project has been refined over the years, we still think more can be done to make a great project even better. We remain committed to working with our local partners like the city, Hamilton County, and other key stakeholders to stay on budget and on schedule,” Marchbanks said.
The Ohio DOT is also working with the city on Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity or RAISE grant-funded improvements at Linn Street and 8th Street that overlap with the Brent Spence Bridge Project. The agency also plans new development and replacement of a pedestrian bridge over Winchell Avenue and provided $200,000 for improvements to the Queensgate Playfield.
“I appreciate the opportunity to continue working with Director Marchbanks and [Ohio] DOT to discuss opportunities to improve safety, mobility, and connections for those living in and traveling through Cincinnati,” noted Mayor Pureval.
Ohio DOT noted that this phase of the project – the one affecting Cinncinati neighborhoods – addresses six of the eight miles of the total corridor; five miles of the I-71/75 corridor in Kentucky and one mile of I-75 in Ohio. It includes improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge and a companion bridge to the west. Work on the two northernmost sections of the corridor in Ohio will be done under separate contracts, Ohio DOT noted.