Between Past and Future

Bridge Forward, Brent Spence Bridge Consolidation

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Cincinnati, OH | Study

This bridge is about more than traffic. It’s about addressing past harms and reconnecting the city.
Nearly 26,000 people—almost entirely African American—were forcefully removed from the Kenyon-Barr section of Cincinnati's West End, so the neighborhood could be razed to make room for Interstate 75. The result has permanently shaped the city.

Roads and bridges connect people and places, but they also frequently divide them. Built in 1963, the Brent Spence Bridge is a critical connector that carries traffic from I-71/I-75 across the Ohio River, but it also divided Cincinnati and Covington. As a once in a generation investment in infrastructure seeks to remake the bridge (thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), GBBN is working with transportation advocacy group Bridge Forward to envision a better approach.

Working within the footprint of existing plans our proposal consolidates the northern approach to the bridge, using collector streets to simplify the system of ramps and capping a below-grade portion of the interstate.

View from the North. Simplifying connections and capping a below-grade portion of the interstate would open up to 30 acres of land for new buildings, parks, and other uses.

While reclaiming up to 30 acres of developable, downtown real estate from the right-of-way surrounding the interstate, our plan would reconnect the Central Business District to Queensgate and the West End, a mostly African American neighborhood that was largely razed for the construction of the I-75 Interstate.

Now cutoff by the interstate, GBBN and Bridge Forward’s vision for the Brent Spence Bridge makes it possible to mend the street grid, restitch the urban fabric, and restore the communities that were damaged by past planning decisions.

An expanded convention center, hotels, and supporting amenities envisioned in space once occupied by interstate connectors.