The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 10:47cat

Six Injured in Brent Spence Bridge Crash

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All lanes on the Brent Spence Bridge were closed for two hours on Saturday as emergency crews cleared the accident All lanes on the Brent Spence Bridge were closed for two hours on Saturday as emergency crews cleared the accident Jason Vaughn

Six people were injured this weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio when a car fell off the southbound deck of I-75 and landed on the northbound lanes of the highway below.  According to witnesses, a car tried to take an exit off I-75 that was located in the right lane by quickly cutting over from the left lane. A semi-truck ended up colliding with an SUV and sent the car over the guardrail. Six people were sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The eight-car pile-up closed all lanes of the bridge for two hours on Saturday.

Residents of Kentucky and Ohio have been battling over building a replacement bridge for the 50-year-old structure for many years. The current bridge is a double decker bridge that connects Cincinnati with Covington, KY and has southbound traffic travel on the top deck and northbound traffic on the bottom deck. Officials who support a new bridge are using the accident as further evidence why the two states need a new bridge. The bridge was originally designed to handle 80,000 cars per day. Roughly 172,000 cars used the bridge each day last year.

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) has reported that the bridge has an average of seven calls from safety forces per week, although not all of those are for accidents. Covington Mayor Sherry Carran is a supporter of building a new bridge. She believes the accidents and cars breaking down on the bridge, tie up numerous police and firefighter/paramedics, and it's a cost to the city as well as the safety of motorists and those who respond to crashes. 

In 2011, large pieces of concrete fell from the upper deck of the bridge onto the lower level, and the bridge was closed down for a day to repair the damage. While it is currently considered to be structurally safe, many residents of Ohio and Kentucky have lost faith in the functionality of the original bridge. The two states’ departments of transportation discussed renovating the bridge, but it was ultimately decided that building a new bridge was the better option.

The $2.6 billion that is estimated to cost to tear down the old bridge and build a new one has always made the new bridge controversial. The announcement of toll revenue funding the design and construction of the new bridge, originally angered some commuters who use the bridge each day. There is especially strong opposition in Northern Kentucky due to the expectation that the state’s residents will pay a disproportionately high percentage of the tolls because more vehicles originate from Kentucky than Ohio. The residents would like an equal split of the cost between the two states. The report released by the two DOTs on December 31, 2013 does not recommend a dollar amount for the toll to cross the bridge, but it does say it will examine other similar projects and base the amount on those findings. 

A recent study by the University of Kentucky found that tolls would have little effect on the economic benefits of the new bridge. The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Council of Governments has found that the yearly economic value of commerce that travels across the Brent Spence Bridge is $400 billion. Traffic will be reduced by at most 2 percent, and trucking could be reduced by 3 percent.  In the best scenario, overall traffic on the bridge could increase by 1 percent. These fluctuations in the amount of vehicles crossing the bridge each day will likely not have an impact on retail or food service in the region.  

Sources: Cincinnati.comFox19

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