Kentucky city seeks to divert trucks

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The City Commission of Covington, Ky., wants to ban large trucks from the Brent Spence/Interstate 71/75 Bridge during rush hours, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported today, Oct. 11.

Mayor Butch Callery has said it could be a decade or more before the bridge that has one of the highest crash rates of the nation’s “functionally deficient” bridges between 1995 and 2003 is replaced. In the meantime, he believes 18-wheelers should be kept off it during morning and afternoon commute times to reduce crashes and congestion. In addition to its high accident rate, lanes of the Brent Spence are said to be narrow, and there are no shoulders for vehicles to use during emergencies.

Covington City Commission unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday, Oct. 9, calling for the Federal Highway Administration and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to consider a partial truck ban, according to the newspaper; the proposal calls for banning 18-wheelers from the Brent Spence between 6 and 9 a.m. and 3 and 6 p.m. unless they have business within the Interstate 275 beltway.

Callery told the Enquirer that city leaders in Fort Wright, Park Hills, Fort Mitchell and Erlanger are considering similar resolutions, and he’s approached the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce about supporting a partial truck ban. “It’s a good consensus and a lot of cooperation from a lot of people,” Callery told the newspaper. Fort Wright Administrator Larry Klein told the Enquirer that officials there will consider the issue at their Nov. 7 council meeting, and that Fort Wright officials wanted to see Covington’s resolution before taking action.

Covington’s resolution will be forwarded to Rob Hans at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Northern Kentucky office, Callery told the newspaper. If the lobbying effort is successful, Callery told the Enquirer that the earliest he sees a partial ban taking effect is next year.

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of governments is studying how the proposed ban would affect communities along I-275, Interstate 471 and 71/75, Commissioner Sherry Carran told the newspaper. Leaders of some cities bordering the beltway have worried the partial truck ban would increase accidents and noise in their communities. Some trucking companies have expressed concerns on the added costs of detouring around the beltway.