The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), through its first round of Large Bridge Project Grants of the competitive Bridge Investment Program (BIP), recently funded two bridge projects that should facilitate the fluid transport of grain.
Brent Spence Bridge, Kentucky
In Covington, Kentucky, $1.385 billion in BIP funding will be used to rehabilitate and reconfigure the existing Brent Spence Bridge.
Currently, the bridge is the nation’s second-worst truck bottleneck, and the overhaul is expected to improve interstate and local traffic flow between the communities on either side of the Ohio River.
The project includes construction of a new companion bridge immediately west of the existing bridge to accommodate interstate through traffic on two bridge decks, and complete reconstruction of eight-mile interstate approach corridors both in Ohio and Kentucky, replacing 54 additional bridges.
The project will separate I-75 traffic from local traffic, making commutes quicker and improving freight along this corridor.
Calumet River bridges, Chicago
In Chicago, Illinois, $144 million in BIP funding will rehabilitate four bridges over the Calumet River, which connects Lake Michigan with the Lake Calumet Port District.
The Lake Calumet Port District, in turn, connects to the Illinois River, a major tributary of the Mississippi River.
Each bridge lifts an average of 5,000 times per year, providing continuous and safe access for marine traffic to and from the Port and surrounding industry.
Rehabilitating these bridges ensures the bridges continue to allow barge and ship traffic to access the Illinois International Port and beyond. According to Freight Analysis Framework data, over 994,000 tons of cereal grain and animal feed was shipped by truck between Ohio and Kentucky in 2017.