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I-75 (and I-71) "Cut in the Hill"

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Somewhere south of Cincinnati, there is a 2-mile piece of I-71/I-75 nicknamed the Cut in the Hill. From the Kyles Lane exit, the northbound freeway takes a hard left and then makes a sudden drop into Covington, with the full skyline of downtown Cincinnati spreading out before you, giving off the rollercoaster effect along the way. It is one of the deadliest stretches of highway in the nation, even with all the safety measures taken over the years, such as a jersey barrier in the median and signs warning of the steep grade. Many twists and turns, a long downhill stretch, speeding, inclement weather and rush-hour traffic have contributed to thousands of crashes in the six decades since it opened, and the ongoing issues with the Brent Spence Bridge that follows immediately don't help either. If you were with KYTC, and in charge of making this freeway safer, what would you do?

(Personally, I'd put up signs as far back as I-275 warning through traffic of the steep grade ahead, as well as advisory speed signs at least one or two miles before the actual descent begins, plus an "Alternate Route to Cincinnati" sign listing I-275 east to I-471 north.)

Also, what is up with the delay of plans to actually improve the Cut in the Hill? While I think it's good that the Brent Spence project is about to move forward, it would be even better to work on the stretch south of there as well.

They've worked on that section of road many times over the past few years. What else should be done to the road itself?

Some background info:

When I moved from the Hampton Roads area to Northern Kentucky in late 1994, KTC was putting the final touches on the reconstructed "Cut-in-the-Hill".  From the second photo shown of I-71/75 (SB view) in, the current situation is much better than the winding 6-lane through the hill.  The interchange shown in the photo no longer exists.  I-71/75 now curves just before the bottom of the photo and is straight from there, through the loops of the old interchange, over where the road curves back to the left, to a point just above the photo where the old alignment curves toward Kyles Lane.  Part of the west side hill was excavated to make room for this.

Going downhill (NB) on I-71/75, the highway curves a bit right just north of the Kyles Lane on-ramps, then makes two slight curves back left before going straight down the hill, then curving left at the base of the hill.

It is steep, about a 4% grade, but there are advisory signs at the Dixie Hwy interchange 1 mile south of where the descent begins.   There is also another advisory sign at the Kyles Lane overpass.

KTC has also installed signage directing vehicles with hazardous materials to not take I-71/75 north of I-275 due to the truck collision and fire on the Brent Spence Bridge in December 2020.  These were installed in April 2021.  There is signage similar to these on I-275 on each approach to the I-71/75//I-275 interchange in Erlanger.

There also has been an improvement made to the pavement on the northbound side.  Instead of the pavement being all concrete, there is a section that begins here between the two left curves that is a semi-course asphalt that goes halfway down the hill--most likely to improve tire grip on rainy/snowy days when traversing the curve as for some reason this is where many collisions occur.

I do agree that there should be an advisory sign for the hill on I-71/75 NB between the Turfway Rd. and KY 236 interchanges.  The speed limit does reduce from 65 to 55 right at the KY 236 interchange and maintains that all the way to the Brent Spence. 

As an aside, the speed limit was 70 through the Cut-in-the-Hill until a fatal accident in 1973 when it was reduced to 55.

So, there is not much else that can be done to "improve" the road.  Perhaps if some drivers would "improve" their driving habits (both truckers and four-wheelers), incidents would lessen considerably.


--- Quote from: amroad17 on July 27, 2022, 01:12:13 AM ---As an aside, the speed limit was 70 through the Cut-in-the-Hill until a fatal accident in 1973 when it was reduced to 55.
--- End quote ---

I think it may have even been 50 for a while.

I remember the Jefferson Avenue exit, but I don't remember it ever being open. I remember it being closed for years.


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