FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet contractors will be erecting new signs next week on interstate highways in northern Kentucky, reminding drivers that trucks containing hazardous materials cannot use the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River between Covington and Cincinnati.
New or upgraded signage will be posted at 12 locations on I-71/75 northbound, and I-275 east- and westbound, in Boone and Kenton counties. Ground-mounted signs will be installed at three new sites, while in the other locations, overhead signs will be replaced or fitted with plaques that say “No Hazmats.”
“This improvement in signage will increase awareness by giving additional notice of the longstanding hazmat restriction on I-71/75 between I-275 and the Ohio state line,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray.
The upgrade was prompted by a re-examination of hazmat signage following a Nov. 11 fire on the Brent Spence Bridge, which resulted in its closure for 41 days while repairs were made.
One of two semi-tractor-trailers involved in the crash and fire was carrying a small quantity of potassium hydroxide, a nonflammable corrosive chemical. As it turned out, the amount of chemical was far below the federal threshold for being categorized as a “hazmat” load, and thus the truck was on the bridge legally. However, the incident prompted a re-examination of hazmat signage in the area of the Brent Spence Bridge.
“We listened and then we held conversations at the local, state and federal levels regarding the hazmat restrictions in the area,” Gray stated. “We share the desire to install signage to reinforce the restrictions, which commercial drivers who plan their routes should already know.”
He added, “It’s worth noting that the small quantity of potassium hydroxide being transported by one of the vehicles did not contribute to the fire and was well below the federal threshold of what is considered hazardous material. It also bears repeating that it’s every driver’s responsibility to know and obey the rules of the road. But we will do everything we can to provide information.”