Big changes happening near Brent Spence in preparation for 'Texas Turnaround'

View of northbound traffic along the Brent Spence Bridge, pictured, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
View of northbound traffic along the Brent Spence Bridge, pictured, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

Say goodbye to the Fourth Street ramp from Covington to Interstate 71/75 northbound at the Brent Spence Bridge as you know it.

The ramp is closing permanently at 5 a.m. Thursday.

Drivers will instead access the northbound lanes at the entrance ramp from Pike Street, which will reopen after being closed for seven months.

The changes are happening to allow construction of the $8.8 million “Texas Turnaround,” a long, continuous U-shaped ramp that gives drivers entering northbound I-71/75 more time to change lanes.

Drivers on Fourth Street who want to go north on I-75/I-71 will for now be directed to take a detour and use I-75/I-71 southbound to Kyles Lane to the northbound lanes.

A diagram showing the proposed Fourth Street ramp improvements, also called a Texas turnaround.
A diagram showing the proposed Fourth Street ramp improvements, also called a Texas turnaround.

Kentucky transportation officials said the "Texas Turnaround" ramp will reduce accidents and relieve congestion on the bridge. Construction on the new ramp began in March with the closure of the Pike Street on-ramp.

Related:Brent Spence and 'companion' bridge could see 40% jump in traffic

Officials said 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, leading to slowed traffic, quick stops, backups, and increased likelihood of rear-end collisions.

“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,” Covington 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.”

Officials have not yet said when the "Texas Turnaround" ramp will open.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Brent Spence I-71/75 ramp changes coming to Covington