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Mayor, city staff to meet with transportation cabinet regarding truck traffic, hazardous materials

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

It seems all the members of the Covington Commission have heard it, with the Mayor included. Now, he says, they’re trying to do something about it.

People are irate because there is too much traffic coming through town. When the Brent Spence Bridge was closed Nov. 11 due to a fiery semitruck crash, it not only caused headaches for those who drive the interstate through the main arteries of downtown Cincinnati. It’s causing problems for those in downtown Covington too, as trucks are diverting through downtown to find other ways to cross the river. Drivers who live in the city are finding it difficult to make it to their destinations, while businesses are taking a hit because it’s too hard for patrons to make it to their shops.

Tuesday, as Commissioners again met virtually for their regularly scheduled legislative meeting, Mayor Joseph U. Meyer revealed he had been in touch with Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, whom the Mayor said wanted to see how the traffic situation was “working out on the ground.”

Specifically, the Mayor said they would meet in the future to discuss the traffic issues, the signage in the city and a disturbing report by the WDRB News television station that revealed how since 2013, there has been a specific hazardous chemical ban — one that’s gone largely unknown and unenforced — for I-75 north of I-275.

After the accident, officials said the fire burned so intensely because one truck was carrying potassium hydroxide, a hazardous material. Simply put, it should never have been transported across the bridge in the first place — or anywhere on I-75 north of I-275 to the Ohio state line.

Meyer said the city wants to publicize the hazardous materials ban with signage, which they hope would help prevent another disaster from occurring in the future.

The truck crash that shut down the bridge.

“(Gray’s) office has agreed to coordinate a meeting between his office and our team,” Meyer said. “We’ve had preliminary discussions and the government is open to meeting with us …. So that’s a positive step. (We want) to help protect the integrity of the Brent Spence Bridge in the future. Obviously, we can’t change the past,” he said, but he noted the city can “aggressively enforce the hazardous materials ban going forward.”

All of this will be discussed with the Transportation Cabinet, he said.

“These are two of the more practical steps we’ve taken,” Meyer said. “To keep this from happening again, and to alleviate ourselves —  our people, our businesses — from the remarkable burden that all of this extra traffic is putting on all of us.”

Cathedral Square

Commissioners also approved a request by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington to designate the two-block area bounded by Scott Street on the east, Eleventh Street on the north, the railroad tracks on the west, and Twelfth Street on the south, as “Cathedral Square.”

The city recognized the area for its multiple buildings and institutions important to the city.

Riverfront Commons deadline extended

Commissioners approved a proposal to amend the existing contract with Prus Construction for the Riverfront Commons Phase I — Plaza Design, extending the time of the contract by four months, to May 1, 2021.

Public Works Director Chris Warneford said last week that weather, as well as high river levels, have delayed construction on the project, and the possibility of more inclement weather in future months resulted in the request for the extension.

New business manager

Commissioners approved the hiring of Susan B. Smith as Business Attraction Manager.

Smith, who worked for meetNKY for 22 years, will start Dec. 8.

Animal regulations approved

Commissioners heard a second reading and unanimously approved the incorporation of Kenton County’s new stray animal regulations pertaining to community cats into the city’s ordinances.

Among other things, the regulations incorporate the county’s Trap-Neuter-Return program, define what are community cats and set the requirements for anyone acting as a caretaker for the cats.


• Commissioners approved the hiring of Ben Broomall as a full-time groundsworker in the forestry division of the Public Works Department.

• Commissioners approved the reappointment of Krista Dyer to the Fire Department.

• Commissioners approved the reappointment of Anthony Noll and Steve Goodpaster to the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) for two-year terms, effective Jan. 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2022.

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., Dec. 8. The meeting can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels.

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