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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Could McDaniel's New Bridge Proposal Include Fort Thomas?

Could this be where the newest bridge will be constructed?
With the Governor's race coming this November, the Brent Spence Bridge will certainly get a lot of attention as candidates look to cash in on the Northern Kentucky vote. Whether you are for or against tolling in order to build a new bridge, candidates are trying to walk the tightrope on what is popular and what is realistic.

State Senator, Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill), is the Lt. Governor candidate on the ticket with Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer. McDaniel is anti-tolling, and spoke to The Enquirer and Bill Cunningham on 700 WLW about his ideas on how to build a new bridge.

What was most noteworthy from McDaniel's comments to The Enquirer was that he's not convinced a new bridge should be built next to the existing span where the BSB currently carries traffic.

So where should the new bridge be built? Perhaps Fort Thomas.

"We should be looking to get the biggest bang that we can out of this ... so why not look at going through areas such as Newtown in Ohio?" he said in an interview with The Enquirer."There is less and less developable land through the I-75 corridor. Why not use this as an opportunity to open up more development? It seems as if there was a foregone conclusion that this would be the site without enough examination of other options."

While McDaniel does not mention specifically by name, he does mention Newtown and Campbell County as the two point of interest to connecting a bridge. Reading a map puts that bridge in or around Fort Thomas.

McDaniel said that the traffic will be diverted east, mainly tractor-trailer traffic. The bridge that he mentions in Newtown, Ohio would almost certainly land across the Ohio River and into Fort Thomas or Fort Thomas' backyard. 

On the Bill Cunningham show, McDaniel talked more about where the new bridge could be placed. "I see the biggest options out in front of us right now moving more to the East, trying to align in between 471 and 275 somewhere to the east of town, and I look forward to us taking a hard look and seeing if that is a viable option."

McDaniel said that the bridge decision should also include potential impacts on commercial development and that it is a "60-70 year decision, not just for the next three to five years."

The question for Fort Thomas residents and officials is whether or not that commercial impact would be  beneficial specifically to Fort Thomas, who would see an extreme increase in traffic.

The Coalition To Build Our Bridge Now disagrees with McDaniel's assessment. In a release they said, "The proposal offered Jan. 11 to build a bridge between Newtown, Ohio, and Campbell County and Northern Kentucky would be a major step backward in the effort to improve safety and the flow of traffic and freight across the Ohio River."

"Planning to design and engineering for a new bridge would take years complete and cost hundreds of millions of dollars while the construction of this proposed roadway would cost billions of dollars and require an interstate highway and feeder roads to be built in residential and agricultural communities throughout Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. And most importantly, it will do nothing to improve safety and traffic through the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor."

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