Local municipalities share input on Brent Spence Bridge corridor designs

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The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor will be making big aesthetic changes to the region over the next few years, including the I-71/75 overpasses in Fort Wright and Fort Mitchell. 

At Fort Wright’s June 7 city council meeting, City Administrator Jill Cain Bailey presented the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) designs for the Kyles Lane overpass

BSB Corridor design concept of southbound view of Kyles Lane overpass on I71/75, nighttime. | From BSB Corridor Aesthetic Design presentation.

“KYTC is essentially asking for feedback in terms of whether or not [Fort Wright city council is] supportive of this concept,” Bailey said.

Bailey explained that while the cabinet has ultimate control over the design of the overpass, they want Fort Wright’s input on whether or not this design fits into their community.

“Based on experience on another large transportation project, the KYTC Brent Spence Bridge team developed an urban aesthetic and landscape document to look at treatment options along the BSB corridor in Northern Kentucky,” Jake Ryle, KYTC Public Information Officer, said. “This document will be given to the design build team to guide future decisions on this portion of the project corridor.”

The aim of this design document is to be cohesive “in color and concept of city hall so that all public spaces have the same kind of design and feel as you move throughout the community,” according to Bailey. 

Overall, Fort Wright’s city council was impressed by the designs and felt that they represented the city well. 

One of the only changes suggested had to do with lighting, which Bailey described at the meeting. 

“The only thing I want to mention is there are some lights on all of the images that are depicted,” Bailey said. “We have asked them to consider the glow that we have out on our street lights, which are more historical in nature.”

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Margie Witt, chair of Fort Wright’s Community Improvement Committee also commented on landscaping that would flank the overpass on either side of the highway.

“I just want to make sure that there is a variety of trees that you choose up there. We do have a lot of insects that come in and destroy certain species of trees,” Witt said. 

She said that planting a variety of trees makes it less likely that the entire vegetation will be taken out in the future.

Improvements to the Brent Spence Corridor will affect Fort Mitchell as well. These overpasses will be very close to each other when traveling the interstate. The design concept reflects that. 

“[KYTC is] also working with the City of Fort Mitchell and the mayor of Fort Mitchell with Mayor Hatter, along with the Judge Executive from Kenton County,” Bailey said. “We asked that there be some sort of cohesive theme amongst the designs but that they remain individual enough for each community to still have their own identity.”

The designs for Fort Mitchell and Fort Wright are slightly different. Fort Mitchell features its city name next to the seal on the retaining wall. Fort Wright features their seal on the retaining wall but has the city’s name spelled out on the bridge itself.

BSB Corridor design concept of southbound view of US-42 overpass on I71/75, Option 1. | From BSB Corridor Aesthetic Design presentation.

The two designs also consider the shapes and angles found in the city’s respective historical forts. 

Fort Mitchell’s City Council approved the design concepts.

Mayor Jude Hehman said, “The improvements to the US-42 overpass are needed and welcomed. We look forward to continued collaboration with KYTC.”

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Work on the Brent Spence bridge is anticipated to begin in late 2023

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