Better for Our Community

Why is the Brent Spence Bridge so congested?

The Brent Spence Bridge is at the heart of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky community. But it is suffering the effects of old age. The arteries feeding into the heart of our community are becoming increasingly clogged year after year. Increased traffic — combined with the delays caused by accidents, congestion, and other events on the bridge — are creating blockages, bottlenecks, and even longer delays. In addition to the adverse effects of the bridge on our regional economy and the safety of our citizens and visitors, these delays are having a significant impact upon the vitality (growth and progress) and quality of life in our region.

Consider the following facts from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), the U.S. Census, and the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • The bridge was designed for an average flow of 80,000 vehicles per day.
  • Estimates predict more than 200,000 vehicles per day will be crossing the bridge in the near future.
  • Approximately 60% of the 2.1 million people in this region live within five miles of I-75.
  • Approximately 75% of the 1 million jobs in this region are within five miles of I-75.
  • The population of our area is expected to grow about 10 percent from 2.1 million people in 2010 to 2.3 million by 2030.
  • One third of the entire population of the United States lives within 275 miles of the I-75 corridor.
  • Interstate truck traffic alone is projected to grow by 10 percent by 2030.
  • OKI conservatively estimates that 79,000 commuters cross the river every day to get to or from work in Hamilton, Clermont, Warren, Butler, Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.


What will increased congestion mean to our communities and for people living and working in our region?

To put some measurement on this problem, OKI created this video using traffic modeling analysis to show the gridlock that will occur in our region in the future without a new bridge.  This model shows the heart of our region becoming increasingly clogged in the future.

Specifically, this video shows:

  • The travel time from Eastgate or Florence to downtown at the morning rush hour is now about 35 minutes. Without a new bridge, that time will grow by 65 minutes.
  • A trip from Kings Island to the Central Business District or vice versa now takes about 37 minutes. Without a new bridge, that travel time will grow to 100 minutes.
  • Our international airport is another critical transportation lifeline for our region to the rest of the world. It currently takes about 30 minutes to drive from the airport to the Cincinnati Business District (CBD). Without a new bridge, that travel time will grow to 1 hour and 43 minutes in the coming decades.


We only need to look at other areas of the country with similar issues to understand what this means for us.

Here are some of the problems we can expect to occur without a new bridge:

  • Rush-hour drives extending to hours in the work day.
  • Employers scrambling to accommodate thousands of employees dealing with unpredictable commutes.
  • Businesses losing millions of dollars each year because of increased fuel and labor costs caused by congestion, which, of course, is usually passed on to the consumer.
  • Traffic backed up during rush hour creating gridlock in communities many miles from the bridge on both sides of the river.
  • People choosing not to cross the river for jobs, schools, and entertainment because they cannot get to work on time; get their kids to daycare, school, sports, and extracurricular activities on time; or to restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment venues in a timely fashion.
  • Small businesses relying on customers from both sides of the river will lose significant revenue.

The resulting gridlock predicted for the Brent Spence Bridge will have a huge impact on growth and progress in our region, causing lost income, wasted fuel, reduced employment, and inefficiencies in delivering goods and services to consumers, including vital products such as food, healthcare, and fuel. This growing congestion will adversely affect the quality of life for all of our region’s citizens on a daily basis.


Maintaining the national honors that Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have received

Consider the following honors earned by our region for innovation, vitality, growth, quality of life, attractiveness to businesses, nightlife, architecture, fine arts, food and attitude. Traffic congestion and travel delays will diminish these strengths and will negatively impact our region’s identity and stature in these and other areas:

  • Cincinnati was listed by Partners for Livable Communities as one of 30 cities across the nation whose innovation has brought vitality and growth to the region, and improved quality of life. Cincinnati is the only Midwestern city and one of the nine large markets nationwide to be named to the list.
  • Site Selection Magazine ranked Cincinnati among the top 10 metro areas for new and expanding businesses for eight consecutive years.
  • Cincinnati also earned marks from Expansion Magazine, which ranked it among the hottest 50 cities according to site-location consultants.
  • Forbes Magazine placed our region in its line-up of the Best Cities for Singles 2006. Out of the 40 largest continental U.S. metropolitan centers, Cincinnati ranked No. 1 for its nightlife based on the number of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs per capita in the region.
  • Ted Lee, a journalist with Travel + Leisure magazine, featured Cincinnati’s modern approach to architecture, food, and attitude. Our attractions, hotels, and restaurants were showcased as highlights in the area.
  • Oprah Magazine has called attention to Cincinnati’s urban renewal efforts, citing such attractions as the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, the Cincinnati Opera, the Cesar Pelli-designed Aronoff Center for the Arts, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.