Portman Supports DOT, FHWA Efforts to Repair & Restore Brent Spence Bridge, Calls for Long-Term Solution

November 16, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Friday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason regarding the urgent need to repair and restore the Brent Spence Bridge. The bridge was damaged in a fiery crash on November 11, 2020 and has since been closed for travel while critical assessments and repairs begin. The Brent Spence Bridge is critical for the region’s economy, with an estimated three percent of the nation’s GDP crossing the bridge each year. Portman expressed his support and appreciation for the assistance already underway and called for a long-term solution to ensure the interconnectivity of the region.

“The Transportation agencies in both states have begun repairs and seek Emergency Relief funding through the Federal Highway Administration for the repairs and restoration of essential travel on the Brent Spence Bridge. I understand the process to obtaining this assistance is already underway, with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet already receiving $12 million in quick release funds, and I support and appreciate these efforts,” wrote Portman. “While the immediate need is restoration of the operations after this horrific accident, we are in need of a long-term solution for the interconnectivity of this region.”

The full letter can be found below and here.

Dear Secretary Chao and Administrator Nason:

On the morning of November 11, 2020, a truck hauling potassium hydroxide and diesel fuel crashed into a jackknifed truck on the lower deck of the Brent Spence Bridge. The fire from this explosive crash burned for two hours. Thankfully, both drivers were recovered from the crash uninjured. This critical connection between Ohio and Kentucky is now in a dangerous condition will remain closed until further notice while the damage is assessed and critical repairs begin.

I understand both Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear have issued states of emergency related to this accident. The Transportation agencies in both states have begun repairs and seek Emergency Relief funding through the Federal Highway Administration for the repairs and restoration of essential travel on the Brent Spence Bridge. I understand the process to obtaining this assistance is already underway, with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet already receiving $12 million in quick release funds, and I support and appreciate these efforts.

Looking forward to the needs of the Greater Cincinnati region, the Brent Spence Bridge has been functionally obsolete for over 35 years. This structure built in 1963 is designed to handle 80,000 cars. This year, the Ohio Department of Transportation estimates an average of 160,000 cars crossing the bridge daily. This connection is critical for the region’s economy. An estimated three percent of the nation’s GDP crosses the Brent Spence Bridge each year.

I ask that you stay engaged with me on identifying a sustainable path forward. While the immediate need is restoration of the operations after this horrific accident, we are in need of a long-term solution for the interconnectivity of this region. If there are any additional funding avenues available within Department of Transportation at large, I ask that you help identify those options.  

I appreciate your attention to this matter on behalf of the Greater Cincinnati region.

 

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