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Brent Spence Bridge through the years


Brent Spence Bridge through the years
Authored by Sherman Cahal on May 4, 2009 at Bridges & Tunnels

The Brent Spence Bridge carries Interstates 71 and 75 across the Ohio River, connecting Covington, Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio. First envisioned in the 1950s as a modern river crossing connecting Cincinnati to Kentucky. In April 1956, a site in West Covington near the mouth of Willow Creek was chosen for a bridge site, after Covington, Cincinnati and state highway officials came to an agreement on the location. Another alignment was proposed but dismissed parallel to the Cincinnati Southern Railroad Bridge in Ludlow.

The Brent Spence Bridge Kentucky approach soon after the highway opened. Note the missing Interstate 71 shield; Interstate 71 would not be completed in Kentucky until 1970.

The original median along Interstate 75 was curbed with a graveled centerline.
The proposed bridge would have a minimum of six-lanes, three in each direction, and would either be a suspension bridge or cantilever, and either a single or duel layer. A duel layer cantilever bridge was later chosen, and design work was completed in 1959. Actual construction of the bridge began in January 1961, opening to traffic on November 25, 1963.

In 1970, Interstate 71 was completed between Louisville and Interstate 75, and the highway was co-signed along with Interstate 75 over the Ohio River. Tremendous suburban residential growth to the south and north of Cincinnati, coupled with multitudes of commercial and industrial development put an intense strain on the Brent Spence Bridge. In 1986, the bridge approaches were widened to three-lanes and the shoulder on the bridge was eliminated to provide four through-lanes to alleviate severe congestion leading up and on the span as part of the "Death Hill" reconstruction project.

A guardrail was soon added to the unprotected median.

By 1978, the curbed median had been replaced with a jersey barrier.

The Brent Spence Bridge approach being widened in Kentucky.
See Bridges & Tunnel's newest blog post, Brent Spence Bridge through the years, for the remainder of the entry, and be sure to check out the Brent Spence Bridge article for more historical information and photographs.


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