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Fort Wright council agrees with concept drawings for the I-75 overpass in the city, with minor suggestions

By Patricia A. Scheyer
NKyTribune reporter

The Brent Spence bridge project is still going on behind the scenes.

At the regular Fort Wright council meeting last week, City Administrator Jill Cain Bailey talked to council members about the tentative concept design that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet came up with to install on the I-75 overpass that is in the city of Fort Wright.

“At a previous caucus meeting, representatives from KYTC attended the meeting along with their design partners, Human Nature, and presented to us design concepts for the reconstruction of the Kyles’ overpass as part of the Brent Spence bridge project,” Bailey explained. “KYTC is essentially asking for feedback in terms of whether or not you are supportive of this concept.”

She said the team came up with the design with historic contributions from Mayor Dave Hatter.

Concept of Fort Wright Overpass on I-75 – day

The design consists of four towers, two on each side of the bridge, that are reminiscent of other towers in the city. The name, City of Fort Wright, is on the overpass design, and the seal of the city is on the brick retaining wall at the bottom of the expressway ramps.

“The towers that are adjacent to the bridge are designed to match the gateway signage that we would like to see installed at the end of each ramp,” Bailey said. “They are cohesive in design with the colors and concepts of city hall, so that all public spaces have the same feel as you go through the city.”

She said they really want a cohesive design. The mayors met with the Kenton County Judge Executive who told them he wants a cohesive design throughout the county, but with an individual city imprint at each city. At this point, Bailey said, there’s no proposed cost to the community to have the design completed at this time.

Councilmember Jay Weber wondered if the towers could be more like the ones scheduled for Fort Mitchell, but most of the council members thought the ones scheduled for Fort Wright were perfect for Fort Wright.

Councilmember Margie Witt asked her fellow members if they liked the name on the overpass only, or if they liked the design where the city name was also on the brick retaining wall by the ramp.

“I’ll be honest with you, I love the name on the bridge, I like that better,” said Councilmember Bernie Wessels. “Our insignia still goes on the wall.”

Witt said she thought it might be too much to have the name on the bridge and the wall.

“The amount of thought that went into looking at what made Ft Wright unique and then having that be such an integral part of the design, I think it was very well done,” commented Witt.

Fort Wright overpass concept – night

Councilmember Weber asked about the brick facade, or veneer on the supports under the overpass, and asked other members if they would like to consider the brick veneer.

CAO Bailey said the only thing she questioned the design team about was the lights on the overpass, which seemed to her to be a little more modern than the city had in places throughout the city. But she said they told her the lights were just sketched in and they really hadn’t decided anything on the lighting.

“The quality of the work in fantastic,” said Bailey. “So I will make a note that we’ll share back to them that we’d like to see some brick on the endcaps of the supports.”

Councilmember Witt put in that she would like to see a variety of trees planted so that if a disease would appear and wipe out some trees, it would not cause all the trees to die.

“The reason this is on the agenda and the goal here was to reach a consensus, and to do that I think we should go ahead and have a vote on it,” said Councilmember Dave Abeln, who was acting mayor at the meeting in the absence of Dave Hatter. “Based on what you see here with maybe the one comment about the brick veneer.”

CAO Bailey told council it was important for them to understand that you are approving a concept not an actual design. She thought it was important for everyone to be on the same page so that she can represent the group accurately.

Council voted unanimously for the concept with the stipulation that the city would like to have the brick veneer on the overpass supports.

It was suggested and determined that the drawings be put on the website.

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