4th St. ramp to close, Pike St. ramp to open as ‘Texas Turnaround’ nears completion

State project will mean safer, less congested Brent Spence

COVINGTON, Ky. – How drivers enter Interstate 71/75 in Covington just south of the Brent Spence Bridge will change at 5 a.m. Thursday as construction of the $8.8 million “Texas Turnaround” edges closer to completion, state highway officials announced today.

The state-funded project will reduce accidents and relieve congestion on the bridge by creating a long, continuous U-shaped ramp that gives drivers entering northbound I-71/75 more time and space to change lanes.

The new ramp that gives the Texas Turnaround its nickname is not yet ready to open. But in preparation, these changes will happen:

  • The entrance ramp from Fourth Street in Covington directly to I-71/75 northbound (as currently configured) will close permanently at 5 a.m. Thursday to all but emergency vehicles. (See below for its future configuration.)
  • The entrance ramp from Pike Street to I-71/75 northbound will reopen after being closed for seven months.
  • I-71/75 will be opened to four lanes beginning at the Pike Street ramp and extending north across the bridge.
  • Temporarily, a detour will direct motorists on Fourth Street who want to go north on I-75/I-71 to use I-75/I-71 southbound to Kyles Lane to the northbound lanes.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 6 (Northern Kentucky) office announced the changes today for the project, which is posted on KYTC’s Driving NKY Progress website.

City officials warned drivers to pay attention to the changes but said they’re thrilled to see the project – which began in March – move closer to fruition.

“While there will be an adjustment period as drivers get used to the new configuration, the Texas Turnaround will prove to be a huge improvement in safety and congestion on the Brent Spence and the approaches to it,” City Manager Ken Smith said. “With more time and space to change lanes, the stress level of drivers entering the interstate and driving across the Ohio River will be greatly reduced.”

The City previously wrote about the project in March: ‘Texas Turnaround’ work starts next week.

Why the ‘turnaround’?

Many of the rear-end crashes and sideswipes on the Brent Spence Bridge happen because drivers entering northbound at Fourth Street who wish to continue on I-75 have little more than the length of the bridge to cut across two lanes of traffic. The sudden weaving action leads to slowed traffic, quick stops, backups, and increased likelihood of rear-end collisions.

The Texas Turnaround will increase the time and space drivers have to change lanes by shutting the current ramp from Fourth Street to northbound I-71/I-75 and directing drivers to enter the highway at a location further south via a long, continuous (i.e. no stop signs or stoplights) U-shaped ramp.

That new route begins on the 4th Street ramp to southbound I-71/75, continues on the exit ramp to Pike Street/12th Street, and then circles underneath the interstate on the “inner” side of Pike Street and parallel to the current entrance to northbound 1-71/75 from Pike Street (on the north side of the current concrete pillars).

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