COLUMBUS — The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor (BSBC) improvement project is hitting another milestone as the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) requested proposals from consultants to support contract administration, public outreach, project management, and control tasks necessary to manage the eventual design-build project. The selected consultant will be co-managed by a joint team within ODOT and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).
“Our team has been busy working with our counterparts in Ohio to ensure we are ready to move forward once funds are awarded,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “We have already taken many of the important steps necessary for a project of this size and scope that start long before the first shovel is placed.”
“These next key steps move us ever closer to unlocking the real potential of the I-71/75 corridor for this region, our two states, and our country,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “The request for a pre-procurement consultant and these next steps are very important as we ramp up to getting this much-needed project built.”
The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project includes improvements to approximately 8 miles of highway and the addition of a companion bridge on the west side of the existing Brent Spence Bridge. This additional capacity will alleviate congestion, improve safety, and open up this nationally significant freight corridor, which carries an estimated 3% of the nation’s GDP annually. Current plans also call for the separation of local and interstate traffic, which will improve access to local businesses and communities in Covington and Cincinnati.
ODOT and KYTC Continue Preparations and Apply for Federal Grants
The joint project team within ODOT and KYTC has already been working on securing property, preparing an initial financial plan, coordinating with utility companies, meeting with stakeholders, and a host of other activities, including applying for funding.
After Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a memorandum of understanding on February 28, the bi-state project team began preparing an application to support this $2.8 billion project through the federal Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant, which includes funding set aside for projects that are so large that traditional funding and grant mechanisms are not an option.
The Kentucky General Assembly recently passed and Gov. Beshear signed a budget bill that included funding required to fulfill state match requirements for large projects. The State of Ohio is actively developing its financial strategy, which will be included in the grant application to be submitted by May 23.
“We’re working closely with ODOT on this application to position the project to secure every available federal dollar,” said Stacee Hans, KYTC BSBC Project Manager. “With the full backing of both states' leadership, our collaborative team in place, and the work we’ve done to prepare for construction, we feel we will have a compelling application.”
Value Engineering Effort to Be Completed by Mid-June
The joint ODOT and KYTC project team also has been working with engineering firm HNTB to evaluate potential opportunities to reduce overall costs of the construction project through a value engineering process. This work seeks to identify ways to deliver the project at the lowest possible cost without sacrificing safety, quality, or environmental attributes. The project team completing this work also takes into account the federally-required process completed in 2012 that considers potential environmental impacts.
“It’s very important in our current efforts that we confirm the previous decisions that were made through careful and thorough public engagement and environmental analysis in order to keep the project moving forward,” said Stefan Spinosa, P.E., ODOT BSBC Project Manager. “We will continue to pursue cost-saving measures and ways to improve the project that will be consistent with our targeted timeline to begin construction by the end of 2023.”
Contractor Outreach to Take Place in Coming Weeks
The joint project team will provide opportunities in the coming weeks for all firms interested in this historic project to ask questions, provide input to the process, and meet with ODOT and KYTC personnel to learn more about the details. Interested parties may contact the agencies at BSBProcurement@dot.ohio.gov.