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Firms Sought to Kickstart Construction on Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project

Conceptual rendering of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor, looking northeast from Kentucky
Conceptual rendering of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor, looking northeast from Kentucky
Conceptual rendering of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor looking northwest from Kentucky
Conceptual rendering of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor looking northwest from Kentucky
Conceptual rendering of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor looking north near Ezzard Charles Drive in Ohio
Conceptual rendering of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor looking north near Ezzard Charles Drive in Ohio
FRANKFORT, KY — Kentucky and Ohio have put the call out to firms interested in building one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the nation — the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor — shortly after Govs. Andy Beshear of Kentucky and Mike DeWine of Ohio joined bipartisan leaders to celebrate a historic $1.635 billion federal investment to move the project forward.

A request for proposals (RFP) to provide construction and design services on the long-awaited project was released by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).

This contract addresses six of the eight miles of the total corridor, five miles of the Interstate Highway 71/75 corridor in Kentucky, and one mile of I-75 in Ohio. It includes improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge and the construction of a companion bridge to its west. Work on the two northernmost sections of the corridor in Ohio will be done under separate contracts.

“We [recently] celebrated a historic $1.635 billion in federal grant funding to build the new bridge crossing over the Ohio River and improve the entire Brent Spence Bridge Corridor with no tolls,” Beshear said. “This is a huge step that gets us one step closer to fulfilling the dreams of thousands of travelers by providing traffic relief, increased safety, and a boost to our nation’s commerce.”

“When I’ve asked people in southwest Ohio what issues need to be addressed, for many, many years the Brent Spence Bridge has consistently been at the top of the list,” DeWine said. “Today, we’re closer than ever to beginning work on this transformational project.”

The schedule calls for the design-build team to be selected in May, allowing for planning to take place immediately and initial construction work to begin before the year’s end.

This project will be delivered using a delivery method known as progressive design-build. Unlike construction projects that typically use a lowest-bidder approach, the progressive design-build contract is awarded based on qualifications, the best overall approach and value. This allows the design-build team the opportunity to collaborate with the bi-state project team and local stakeholders early in the process, so potential risks can be assessed and mitigated while there is still an opportunity to influence them. It also helps the bidder and the project team avoid excessive cost overruns, because the design-build team will have more thorough knowledge of the project’s design and risks before negotiating a price.

“The progressive design-build process is the right delivery approach based on the complexity of this project,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “Working in collaboration with the contractor during the design process will bring more innovative design ideas to the table and improve the project overall.”

“Our bi-state project team has spent a lot of time preparing for this work and reaching out to the public to ensure those within the project area have had a voice in the process,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “This project connects neighborhoods, states, and the nation. We can't wait to get started.”

The states earned two federal grants including the recent U.S. Department of Transportation award of $250 million for the project from the new National Infrastructure Project Assistance discretionary grant program to go along with the $1.38 billion from the Bridge Investment Program.

Kentucky and Ohio also signed an Interstate Cooperative Agreement that allows both states to begin preparing for construction. The agreement defines the roles and responsibilities for procurement, funding, construction, and maintenance of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.

Groundbreaking for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project is expected to take place in late 2023, with construction beginning in earnest in 2024 and a substantial completion goal of 2029.

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