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Major Milestone Reached as Contract Awarded for Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project

Primary goals of the project include improving safety and traffic flow.

Shutterstock photo.

(Covington, Ky.) - Today, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Walsh Kokosing has been awarded the progressive design-build contract for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project, marking a major step forward in the construction process.

The governors were joined this afternoon by officials from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for a formal announcement in Covington, Kentucky’s Devou Park, overlooking downtown Cincinnati.

Walsh Kokosing will drive the progressive design-build process, along with AECOM, Parsons and Jacobs, consisting of some of the most experienced bridge designers, transportation engineers and highway engineers in the United States. In its submission, the joint venture also identified WEB Ventures as the diversity, inclusion and outreach consultant.

“Today shows what’s possible when folks from different political parties, different states and different levels of government all work together to do what’s right for our people,” Gov. Beshear said. “With the help of this new design-build team, we are one step closer to building the companion bridge without tolls and providing the many families, communities and businesses that rely on this vital commercial link with new and exciting growth and development opportunities.”

“For many years, leaders in southwest Ohio have consistently pointed to the Brent Spence Bridge as an issue that we need to address,” Gov. DeWine said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled that an Ohio-based company will play a pivotal role in getting this project done. Not only are we connecting two states and the nation, we’re strengthening the connection between downtown Cincinnati and neighborhoods to the west.”

As prime contractor, the progressive design-build team will continue to recruit participant companies and workers for the $3.6 billion project, one of the most significant infrastructure megaprojects in the nation. Approximately $3.1 billion will be spent on the design-build portion of the project. The remaining $500 million is allocated for improvements on a two-mile stretch of the Interstate Highway 75 corridor north of Linn Avenue, including a new interchange for the Western Hills viaduct.

The contract addresses six of the corridor’s 8 total miles, including five miles of I-71/75 in Kentucky and one mile of I-75 in Ohio. It also includes improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge and the construction of a new companion bridge to its immediate west. Work on the two northernmost miles of the corridor in Ohio will be done under separate contracts.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the design-build team for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform this vital connector between Kentucky and Ohio,” said John Householder, president of Kokosing Construction Co. and a partner in the Walsh Kokosing design-build team. “Freight drives the nation’s economy. The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor plays a key role in the Greater Cincinnati region and throughout Ohio and Kentucky, while also connecting Michigan to Florida and New York to Los Angeles.”

“This is one of the largest highway construction projects ever undertaken in the U.S.,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “We are confident that Walsh Kokosing’s experienced team, with their solid track record of completing projects approaching this size, possesses the talent, skills and know-how to deliver this complex bridge and highway system.”

“Working in concert with our local partners, we’ve heard loud and clear that they want to ensure this project is not only a benefit to traffic traversing the tri-state, but that it also has a positive impact on those who live here,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “We’ve freed up nearly 10 acres of developable land and remain committed to minimizing the footprint of the project while maximizing the benefits to Cincinnati and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The bistate project team began the procurement process with a number of outreach events aimed at potential prime contractors. More than 300 companies registered for an industry forum last year, and six requested one-on-one meetings with the project team for a deeper review of the bidding requirements and process. The request for proposals (RFP) to provide construction and design services was released in February. Responses were due April 14 followed by interviews and an in-depth review of bidder qualifications, which continued until just prior to today's announcement.

Primary goals of the project include improving safety and traffic flow; correcting geometric deficiencies; and maintaining connections to key regional and national transportation corridors.

Among the contract objectives: maximizing the project’s scope through innovation, design optimization and effective risk mitigation; designing a context-sensitive project that fits within the community; maximizing the public investment by minimizing the footprint of bridge approaches and minimizing the footprint of the interstate system to maximize developable space; and improving neighborhood connectivity across the interstate.

In addition, the design-build team will work with the bistate project team and local communities on numerous fronts, including minimizing traffic disruptions during construction by minimizing detours or diversion of traffic; improving local streets; providing opportunities for workforce development using disadvantaged business enterprises; separating stormwater runoff and improving water quality; and providing a strong aesthetic value along the project corridor.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is moving critically needed projects forward – in Kentucky, Ohio and all across the country – that will make travel safer, move goods to market more quickly, and improve the daily lives of countless Americans,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “We are proud to invest in the success of this project and partner with Govs. Beshear and DeWine as they reach a key milestone on the road to delivering the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project on time, on task and on budget.”

The project consultant team for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project is led by HNTB with support from HMB Professional Engineers Inc., American Structurepoint Inc. and Rasor.

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