Future Plans

By 2015 the Brent Spence Bridge and nearly all of I-75 north to I-275 will have been reconstructed.  What form the reconstructed highway will take has not yet been decided upon.  Official planning has divided the project into three segments:

1.  Brent Spence Bridge  (on-site link -- there is not yet an official Brent Spence Bridge site)
     The "Brent Spence Bridge" section includes the Fort Washington Way and 6th St. Expressway
     interchanges north of the river.

2. "Millcreek Expressway" (bridge approach north to Paddock Rd.) 
     Official project site:

3. "Thru The Valley" (Paddock Rd. north to I-275)
     Official project site:

The official site, which concerns the stretch of I-75 between the Brent Spence Bridge approach and Paddock Rd., outlines the nineteen scenarios that were studied.  The three to undergo further study, officially identified as I-75A, I-75B, and I-75C, are listed below:

"I-75 Mainline Concepts Recommended for Further Work"

I-75-NB -- No Build

I-75-A -- Four Lane Continuity with auxiliary Lanes
This concept would involve adding a fourth lane on the outside in each direction north of I-74.   Four lanes currently exist south of I-74.  This option provides the opportunity to improve safety and congestion to a limited degree while minimizing property impacts and costs.

I-75-B -- Five Lane Continuity
This concept would involve providing five continuous freeway lanes through the study area, adding one lane in each direction south of I-74 and two lanes in each direction north of I-74.  This option would provide additional capacity improvement, but at a higher cost and impacts.

I-75-C -- Four Lane Continuity with Elevated Express Lanes
This concept would involve providing four lanes at-grade through the study area, adding one through lane in each direction north of I-74, plus the construction of elevated express lanes.  This option has the potential to provide superior improved capacity and safety benefits; however, it would be expected to be extremely expensive and intrusive to the surrounding communities.  This option may be less problematic if implemented for only a portion of the study area.

"I-75 Mainline Concepts -- Considered and Dismissed" also outlines sixteen rejected scenarios.  Six lane continuity, HOV lanes, reverse direction lanes, feeder roads, at-grade express lanes, and dedicated truck lanes were all rejected. 

The official site, which concerns the stretch of I-75 between Paddock Rd. and I-275, in summer 2005 identified six scenarios to be studied further:

#1 No Build

#2 No Build + Minor Improvements

#3 Four Lane Continuity
$152 million

#4A Express Lanes
Cost Estimate: $607 million
At grade express lanes between Glendale-Milford Rd. and I-275, on deck above existing viaduct through Lockland, on center T-structure between Cross County Highway and Paddock Rd.

 #4B Express Lanes
Cost Estimate: $221 million
At grade express lanes in existing median between Lockland and I-275, express lanes constructed adjacent to current northbound viaduct through Lockland, at grade express lanes between Lockland and Paddock Rd.

#4C Express Lanes
Cost Estimate: $605 million
At grade express lanes between Lockland and I-275, new viaduct above existing southbound lanes through Lockland, on center T-structure between Lockland and Paddock Rd. 

#5 Lockland Parkway
Cost Estimate: $294 million
"The existing soundbound I-75 between Shepherd Lane and Ronald Reagan Highway would become the I-75 mainline in both directions.  The existing northbound I-75 alignment through Lockland would become a two-way parkway serving local traffic and connecting to I-75 north of Shepherd Lane and an exit from I-75 and Paddock Rd. from the south.  Local connections at Davis Street and Galbraith Rd. would be accessed from the parkway."

The Parkway scenario positions the Galbraith Rd. interchange where I-75's northbound lanes currently pass above the street, enabling a lower profile interchange between I-75 and Cross County Highway.

#6 Divided Interstate
Cost Estimate: $348 million
Essentially the same as the parkway concept, but by positioning the Galbraith Rd. interchange in a diamond orientation where I-75 southbound now passes under it necessitates a more grandiose Cross County Highway interchange, including an I-75 southbound to Cross County eastbound ramp that would require demolition of two dozen homes. This ramp would possibly be the longest and highest in the Cincinnati area.

The selection of Scenario #3, Four Lane Continuity, was reported in the August 20, 2005 Cincinnati Enquirer.

Stretch of I-75 to get 4th lane
Widening to cost at least $159 million

By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

Ohio Department of Transportation officials have decided that adding a fourth lane in each direction on Interstate 75 between Paddock Road and I-275 is the "feasible" way to overhaul the seven-mile stretch of interstate that more than 160,000 drivers use daily.

The next step is to perform more detailed engineering, cost analysis and evaluation of how many homes and businesses will be bulldozed to make room for the wider interstate. That work will take about a year.

Nicknamed "Thru The Valley," the plan to add the extra lane will cost about $159 million.

But the project is likely to cost more than $260 million before construction is completed in 2012 or 2013, because engineers want to make other improvements:

Remove the exit that leads to Mangham Drive and build a full interchange at Shepherd Lane in Lincoln Heights at a cost of $21 million.

Eliminate the Cooper Avenue exit and reconfigure Davis Street as a full interchange in Lockland, extending it west with a bridge over the Lockland split at a cost of $64 million.

Improve the confusing network of roads known as Neumann Way with a two-lane parkway at a cost of $17 million.

Engineers might lift one idea from the rejected alternatives - building a full interchange with Ronald Reagan Highway. "That was a very popular idea in the feedback we received from the public," said Diana Martin, ODOT's District 8 planning administrator.

The project is necessary because that stretch of interstate, one of the oldest in the nation, is considered obsolete and a safety hazard. Construction won't begin until 2010.



Although express lanes are no longer being considered for I-75 north of Paddock Rd., I'm going to leave the following section on the site.

I-75 "local" and I-75 "express"?
Due to the characteristics of I-75's traffic and surroundings, traditional widening promises little benefit.  Therefore express lanes have been proposed for the length of I-75 between downtown Cincinnati and I-275.   At grade or elevated, the express lanes would interchange only with Cross County Highway and I-74, bypassing the Norwood Lateral and all local roads.  The below graphic shows only the vicinity of the Cross County Highway interchange and is an example of the dozens that now appear on the official sites:

Express lanes elevated above the median:

Express lanes running along edge of right-of-way:

If and how express lanes will access downtown and cross the Ohio River is not addressed by   A scenario where a new bridge is built only for the I-75 express lanes and the Brent Spence carries on in its current configuration would avoid considerable hassle during construction.  Needless to say the construction of two express lanes in each direction along the entire route of I-75 in Cincinnati would be much more effective in improving traffic flow and safety as compared to the addition of two traditional lanes. 

Nearly all existing I-75 overpasses will be replaced as a part of the highway's reconstruction and reconfiguration.  Grandiose flyover ramps of the kind seen today in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Texas will be constructed in several places to eliminate left-side ramps and improve safety.

Removing left-side ramps, such as the one seen here heading from I-75 north to the
Western Hills Viaduct, will be a priority of the upcoming study.
(Larry Stulz photo)

More I-75 photos courtesy Larry Stulz

Cincinnati-Dayton Rd.

Tylersville Rd.

Trader's World Flea Market

Union Center Boulevard

Western Hills Viaduct

1. 1940's
2. 1950's
3. 1960's
4. 1970's-1990's
5. Recent News and Future Plans

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