The 24.2 mile segment of Interstate 275 through northern Kentucky runs east from the Caroll C. Cropper Bridge from Lawrenceburg, Indiana to the Combs-Hehl Bridge into the California neighborhood of southeast Cincinnati, Ohio. Western reaches of the beltway traverse rural hills to Francisville. East from there, a number of large industrial parks spread north and south of the freeway around the periphery of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).
A four-level interchange joins I-275 with Interstates 71 & 75 at the city of Erlanger. The six-lane freeway winds east through suburban areas to cross the city of Covington on a ridge east of Banklick Creek. Hilly terrain remains along the freeway corridor as I-275 swings northeast to Interstate 471 and U.S. 27 and back across the Ohio River.
Discussion for a beltway around Cincinnati originated in the late 1950s. The route was envisioned as a bypass around congested areas of the Queen City, Covington and Newport, Kentucky. The freeway gained the support of President John F. Kennedy on August 10, 1962, and on August 24th of that year plans were unveiled for the route. It included a new bridge across the Licking River just south of Newport and Covington and slightly north of Erlanger.1
The first construction contracts in the Bluegrass State were let on January 16, 1970. These included work on the high level bridge across the Licking River. Piers rising to 126 and 130 feet in height were in place for the span by June 1974. Work on the segment across the Licking River wrapped up on February 3, 1976. The 1,500 foot long twin steel spans opened with three lanes in each direction at a cost of $7 million.1
The continuous steel arch truss bridge carrying I-275 across the Ohio River into Indiana is named for Boone County Judge Carroll Cropper. Cropper (1897-1976) was a county judge from 1942 through 1962. The cantilever bridge east to Ohio honors Governor Bert Combs and Campbell County Judge Lambert Hehl. Combs, a Clay County native, served in office from 1959 to 1963 and later as a Court of Appeals judge. Hehl held various positions in government from state senator, to Campbell County commission to district judge between 1956 and 1984.1
Interstate 275 Kentucky Highway Guides
- "Vital bridge never named - Licking River span on I-275 united a growing region." Cincinnati Post, May 15, 2000.
Page Updated 09-23-2016.