Brent Spence Bridge Group Close to $2 Million Goal
Tue, 10/30/2012 - 19:06 RCN Newsdesk
The Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition that formed in May to build a new bridge now, as cost-effectively as possible and with the most benefit to the community, announced today that it has signed on nearly 100 members to the Coalition and is close to meeting a $2 million fundraising goal.
“A small working group has been meeting since May to create a communications and advocacy plan for the project, in addition to raising funds for those efforts and signing on critical businesses, organizations and leaders for moral, political and resource support,” said Julie Janson, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, at this afternoon’s first Coalition Board Meeting where a progress report was given.
Janson made a call to action for a new bridge to be built between Ohio and Kentucky at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Annual Dinner in February. Since then, Duke Energy and Janson, who also currently chairs the Cincinnati Chamber, has spearheaded the effort.
“We’re thrilled with the support we’ve received from the community and both states,” Janson added. “It’s clear to us that citizens are just as passionate about fixing this problem as we are. There are still major challenges ahead of us and a lot of moving parts, but we’re still working toward having a shovel in the ground by 2015.”
The Coalition is advocating for an expedited design and construction process through a public-private partnership that begins construction in late 2014 or early 2015 and completes in 2018, which could put the bridge five or more years ahead of schedule. With the price tag of the project increasing in excess of $100 million yearly, this accelerated schedule would save taxpayers and users at least $500 million in construction costs and $18.9 billion in fuel and time costs.
The working group has been meeting with elected officials to hear their concerns, educate them on the Coalition and identify needed actions to move the project forward, including the necessity to allocate of state and federal funds to build the new bridge and the related work on I-75.
In addition, the Coalition announced it will launch an educational effort before the end of the year that will help to drive awareness of the need for the project and detail how individuals can be a part of the solution. This effort will include television, radio, digital, direct mail, social and earned media.
The Brent Spence Bridge was built to carry 80,000 vehicles and 3,000 commercial trailers daily when it opened in November 1963. Today it carries well over 160,000 vehicles and more than 30,000 commercial trucks daily according to Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments calculations. It holds the title of being “functionally obsolete”
according to federal highways and has the seventh highest crash rate of interstate bridges in the United States. First
responders take an average of 50-60 minutes to reach an incident on the Brent Spence.
The double-decker bridge was designed with three lanes travelling north and southbound, but was expanded to four lanes travelling in each direction to respond to increasing congestion in 1985. Emergency lanes were removed from the bridge and narrowed the four lanes to a foot smaller in width than federal standards.
A full listing of Coalition members can be found at www.buildournewbridgenow.com.
SOURCE: press release
PHOTO: Brent Spence Bridge