Work on ‘Texas turnaround’ begins next week; project will realign Covington ramp onto Brent Spence

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An $8.8 million project to reduce accidents on the Brent Spence Bridge will begin next week.

Many rear-end crashes and sideswipes on the bridge occur because drivers entering northbound at Fourth Street only have the length of the bridge to cross two lanes of traffic, the city of Covington said in a release.

“The Texas Turnaround is a practical, feasible, and cost-effective way to increase safety in a tremendous way by giving drivers more time and space to change lanes,” Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said. “We’re thrilled that KYTC has worked to make this a reality even as the larger discussion continues about how to increase the capacity of the crossings over the Ohio River without jeopardizing Covington’s streets and business community.” 

The project is set to begin March 16, with completion scheduled for Dec. 1, 2022, officals from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The Texas turnaround, named as such because it originated in Texas, will direct drivers to enter the highway at a location further south via a long, continuous U-shaped ramp. The Fourth Street ramp will close.

That new route begins on the Fourth Street ramp to southbound I-71/75, according to KYTC, continues on the exit ramp to Pike Street/12th Street, and then circles underneath the interstate on the “inner” side of Pike Street and parallel to the current entrance to northbound 1-71/75 from Pike Street (on the north side of the current concrete pillars). No traffic signals or stop lights will be located throughout the route.

“Currently, a northbound driver who enters I-71/75 northbound from the 4th St. on-ramp in Covington and wants to continue north to I-75 in Ohio has to cross multiple lanes of travel – on the bridge,” said Bob Yeager, chief district engineer of KYTC’s District 6 office. “The new travel pattern will provide more time for drivers to safely change lanes.”

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Tentative schedule for construction:

  • 10 p.m., March 16: Closing one of the two lanes on the exit ramp from southbound I-71/75 to Pike Street.
  • Early to mid-April: Closing the entrance ramp from Pike Street to northbound I-71/75 and closing the exit ramp from northbound I-71/75 to Fifth Street. These are expected to be closed for about 180 days.
  • October-November: The current Fourth Street entrance ramp directly to northbound I-71/75 at the entrance of the bridge will be permanently closed to traffic toward the end of the project. It will, however, remain accessible to emergency vehicles.

Detours during construction:

Once the northbound exit to Fifth Street is temporarily closed, drivers will have to exit at a point further south (12th Street/M.L. King Boulevard), head east, and then turn north on Main Street. 

Drivers on Pike Street wanting to head north on the interstate will be directed to southbound I-71/75, the Kyles Lane exit, and then the northbound entrance ramp.

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