Ohio Department of Transportation and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials announced last week that they have narrowed the options for a new Ohio River bridge down to two after a study identified those choices as the most beneficial. The bridge will link Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
"The study focuses on two potential delivery and funding options," said KYTC Secretary Mike Hancock in a statement. "Our Bi-State Management Team will continue to work so that, together, we can make a reasoned decision."
The study looked at a variety of factors, including cost, schedule benefits, and market conditions to evaluate four procurement methods -- design-bid-build, toll revenue concession, availability revenue concession, and design-build.
The two delivery methods the study recommended were: a design-build model, where the states finance the project through various loan and bond funding sources, submit a request for proposal, and choose the contractor who then completes the project, with the repayment of all loans and bonds through tolling; or an availability repayment concession, where a contractor would finance and complete the project, to be repaid over the years on a regular schedule, also be funded through toll collection. The $2.5 billion project will build a second bridge to the west of the Brent Spence Bridge, which is currently 50 years old and functionally obsolete due to its narrow lanes and safety issues, to relieve the major congestion along Interstates 71 and 75 while also increasing safety through improved visibility. Also included in the project is the improvement of eight miles of highway near the bridge to accommodate the traffic.
"Both Ohio and Kentucky know we cannot wait another 50 years to address this bottleneck," said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. "Without the hard work by both teams, the citizens and economy of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky will suffer. We appreciate the partners we've found in Kentucky and look forward to continuing to move this project forward."
The full 81-page options analysis for the Ohio River Bridge is available here.