Brent Spence Bridge, Kentucky

Brent Spence Bridge, Kentucky


Brent Spence Bridge
Spans Ohio River
Lanes 2×4
Total length 529 meters
Main span 253 meters
Bridge deck height ? meter
Opening 25-11-1963
Traffic intensity 159,000 mvt/day
Location Map

According to foodezine, the Brent Spence Bridge is a double-deck truss bridge in the United States, located on the border of the states of Kentucky and Ohio. The bridge spans the Ohio River in Cincinnati.


The Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River.

The Brent Spence Bridge is a double-deck steel truss bridge. The bridge is a total of 529 meters long, with a main span of 253 meters. The bridge deck is 28 meters wide, with 4 lanes in each direction. The bridge is double-decked, southbound traffic drives on top, while northbound traffic drives on the bottom. The bridge is part of Interstate 71 and Interstate 75. Immediately north of the bridge is the interchange with Interstate 71 in Ohio. The center of the city of Cincinnati is also located here. The Brent Spence Bridge is toll-free. The bridge is owned by the state of Kentucky.


Construction of the bridge in 1963.

Plans for a river crossing at this location were made immediately after the Second World War, as early as 1947 a proposal was made for a tunnel under the Ohio River. A tunnel was proposed again in 1955, but with the introduction of the Interstate Highways in 1956, federal funding became available and a bridge was chosen.

Originally there were plans to build two separate bridges for I-71 and I-75 near Cincinnati, the Brent Spence Bridge would only handle traffic from I-71, and a bridge for I-75 would be built two miles west to reduce traffic. double numbering of I-71 and I-75 would be in Northern Kentucky.

The bridge was built in the early 1960s as part of the construction of I-71/I-75 between Cincinnati and suburban Kentucky. The bridge was opened on November 25, 1963. The bridge originally had 3 lanes in each direction, in 1986 the emergency lane was converted into a fourth lane.


According to bittranslators, the bridge is named after Brent Spence (1874-1967), a congressman from Kentucky. The opening of the bridge had little fanfare because it took place three days after President Kennedy’s assassination. There were proposals to call the bridge the John F. Kennedy Bridge. Kennedy eventually got another bridge over the Ohio River named after himself, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge from I-65 in Louisville, which opened two weeks later.

Fire in 2020

On November 11, 2020, an accident involving two trucks on the lower deck of the Brent Spence Bridge resulted in a major fire. The bridge was then closed to traffic until December 22, 2020.


The cross section of the Brent Spence Bridge according to the 2022 design.

The cross section of the Brent Spence Bridge according to the 2012 design.

The bridge is in poor condition and, moreover, not suitable for the amount of traffic. The bridge is designed for 85,000 vehicles, but will handle nearly double that. The bridge was already declared ‘functionally obsolete’ in the 1990s.

It is planned to add a new bridge to the bridge and widen the connecting road sections for eight miles, from US 25 in Kentucky at Fort Mitchell to the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio.

In 2012, a design was originally established with an arch bridgewith a main span of 265 meters. The arch will be 53 meters high from the bottom of the bridge deck to the top of the arch. In the plans of 2012, the new bridge would be double-decked, with 4 lanes, with 2 lanes per deck. The lower deck would have 2×3 lanes, with 3 lanes for local traffic heading south, 3 lanes for I-75 heading north. The top deck will have 3 lanes from I-75 south and 2 lanes from I-71 south. The existing bridge would then be converted from 2×4 to 2+3 lanes, with 3 lanes for local traffic heading north and 2 lanes of I-71 heading north. This would increase the total capacity across the river from 8 to 15 lanes,

This plan was changed in 2022 with a more simplified implementation, whereby the new double-decker bridge with 2×5 lanes next to the existing bridge, which remains in use with 2×3 lanes for local traffic. The plan with a separation of traffic flows on I-71 and I-75 has therefore been abandoned, which meant that the footprint of the new bridge could be halved. However, the total number of lanes has been increased from 15 to 16 lanes compared to the 2012 plan, as fewer emergency lanes are needed as the number of lanes on the new bridge is reduced from 4 to 2.

The new bridge was originally planned to be tolled, construction was initially planned between 2016 and 2020, but has been delayed due to lack of funding and anti-toll sentiment in Kentucky. Construction of the new bridge, renovation of the existing bridge and widening of adjacent road sections was estimated at approximately $2.6 billion. The construction cost of the bridge itself is estimated at $324 million, plus $600 million for the Ohio approaching road sections and $422 million on the Kentucky side.

On February 27, 2022, it was announced that the project would be carried out without tolls.

Traffic intensities

160,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day.

Brent Spence Bridge, Kentucky

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