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Cincinnati Should Learn the Lessons of Louisville’s Bridge Debacle

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Photo Credit: Bart Evans, CC BY 2.0

My latest piece is in this week’s Cincinnati Business Courier. It’s a warning to Cincinnati not to repeat the mistakes Louisville made with its bridges project.  Here’s an excerpt:

As the Cincinnati region continues to debate the question of what to do about congestion on the Brent Spence Bridge, it should take care not to repeat the fiasco that happened just downstream in Louisville. Indiana and Kentucky spent $2.6 billion to build two new bridges in Louisville, including a new parallel span to the existing I-65 Kennedy Bridge, the area’s busiest and which opened within days of the Brent Spence, has a similar but single deck steel truss design, and was even long painted the same color. But after doubling the capacity of that crossing, traffic actually fell by half as drivers changed their routes to avoid newly imposed tolls. How did that happen? Louisville spent decades debating where to put new bridges over the Ohio River, ultimately deciding to built two: a new crossing in its East End and a downtown bridge to increase capacity on I-65. The challenge in building them was the price tag of $2.6 billion. That was too high to use traditional funding. So Indiana and Kentucky agreed that, in addition to spending hundreds of millions of existing highway dollars, the bridges would also be tolled.

Click through to read the whole thing.

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