Source: December 31, 2016 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Crossing into Ohio along the Dan Beard Bridge on Interstate 471 north. The main span of the tied arch bridge is 750 feet in length. Photo taken 11/08/09.
1973 Map of Downtown Cincinnati showing early construction of the Dan Beard Bridge
The Dan Beard Bridge was the only portion of I-471 under construction by 1973. Work further north was complicated by the landslide at Mt. Adams while the final alignment for I-471 south from Newport was still contested. Note also that the Fort Washington Way section of I-71 along the Cincinnati Riverfront was drastically overhauled during a multi-year project completed in 2000.
The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge carries Interstate 471 between Newport, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio. The Ohio River span initially opened in 1977. This view of the Big Mac Bridge is seen from U.S. 52 west on the north shore of the river in Cincinnati. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/03/06).
Interstate 471 constitutes an urban connector linking the Interstate 275 beltway with I-71 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The six-lane freeway winds north through the suburban cities of Southgate and Fort Thomas to separate urban areas of Newport and Bellevue. The eight-lane Daniel Beard Bridge crosses the Ohio River into the Mt. Adams neighborhood outside Downtown Cincinnati.
Interstate 471 was first envisioned in 1961 as an east-west connector between I-71 & 75 in Covington and Interstate 71 in Cincinnati. Dubbed the Riverside Expressway, it would have provided an alternative to Interstate 71 and created an inner loop system spanning both Ohio and Kentucky. The course envisioned for the route straddled the Ohio Riverfront north of the 4th Street Bridge between Covington and Newport through to a proposed crossing of the river east of the L&N Bridge. A Kentucky Post story ran on March 29, 1961 referenced the proposed Riverside Expressway as Interstate 471. Opposition quickly followed by mayors of both Covington and Newport and area residents.1
With the Riverside Expressway dropped, a new proposal arose in summer 1962 for a freeway spur linking Newport with the planned circle freeway (I-275) to the south at Highland Heights. Related actions approved the route of I-275 across Northern Kentucky in March 1963, but kept the $26 million spur route for I-471 under review.1
A map released on December 10, 1967 outlined a 4.8 mile route for I-471 connecting I-275 at Highland Heights with Newport and I-71 in Cincinnati. Much of this route follows the route of Interstate 471 today, with the exception of the ramps at Newport, which were still debated at the time. Right of way acquisition of around 529 parcels needed for the roadway began in January 1968, with bidding for construction of the Ohio River bridge underway in fall 1970.1,2
The bridge between Newport and Cincinnati was constructed between November 1971 and September 1976. It was named after Daniel Carter Beard, the founder of the Boy Scouts who grew up in Northern Kentucky, on October 5, 1976. The 2100 foot long bridge and a short section of I-471 were dedicated on February 14, 1977. The yellow tied-arch bridge is generally referred to as the Big Mac Bridge because its massive arches resemble the golden arches of McDonald's restaurants.2
While bridge work was ongoing, delays for the connecting freeway continued. Land acquisition issues arose between the state and the Newport Board of Education over a site needed for I-471 that was slated for a vocational school. Newport residents also voiced concerns about loss of houses and potential pollution. The ramp controversy in Newport also remained a contested issue. Proposals by 1977 called for a northbound exit to 4th Street, southbound exit to Riverside Drive and on-ramps from 3rd and 5th Streets.1
The Newport School board finally agreed to sell land off Grand Avenue and Sixth Street for the new freeway in August 1977, A temporary connector was also reluctantly agreed upon from the Daniel Beard Bridge and 6th Street at the same time. Work by 1980 added sound barriers along sections of I-471 in Newport and Fort Thomas, while debate continued on the finalized ramp design from the bridge.1
Construction of I-471 in Cincinnati, Ohio was not without difficulties as well. A landslide occurred in 1973 during construction of the road at the Mt. Adams neighborhood. The incident resulted in the city and state buying many of the properties damaged and required the relocation of 32 businesses and 330 or so families.3 Ensuing construction between 1980 and 1985 added a complex retaining wall to prevent future earth movements.4
161 vertical concrete pilings reinforced with structural steel were installed at the base of Mt. Adams for the I-471 retaining wall. Bundles of cable held 137 of the pilings in place against the gravitational force of the hill. With the added wall, costs for the one-mile section of I-471 in Ohio increased to $48 million, which at the time was the most expensive mile of freeway in U.S. history.4
Interstate 471 opened to traffic on December 22, 1980 between KY 1820 (Grand Avenue) and U.S. 27 at Highland Heights. An additional section opened the following day between Memorial Parkway and the Beard Bridge. Work on the freeway culminated on September 18, 1981, when Governor John Y. Brown spoke at a dedication ceremony for the opening of I-471 between Grand Avenue and Memorial Parkway.1 Final costs in 1981 for the bridge and freeway were placed at $85 million.2
Permanent ramps at Newport would remain a hot topic until they were finally built between April 1988 and August 1989. During this time period, a truck ban was also instituted along I-471 by Governor Martha Layne Collins. The restriction ran from July 1986 and May 1988, when actions by the FHWA lifted it.1
The freeway spur south from I-275 to U.S. 27 is unsigned Kentucky 471. Kentucky 471 was created on June 1, 1990, when the section of Interstate 471 between U.S. 27 and Interstate 275 was removed from the Interstate Highway System.5
Southern Terminus - Interstate 275 and U.S. 27 - Highland Heights, Kentucky
Perspective from Interstate 471 south
The final reassurance shield for Interstate 471 south is located under this towering diagrammatic sign for the junction with Interstate 275 (Circle Freeway). The first exit is a right exit to Interstate 275 west to Interstate 71-75 and U.S. 25-42-127. The second exit is a left exit to Interstate 275 east to U.S. 50 and U.S. 52. Through traffic is defaulted onto Kentucky 471 south. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
For Interstate 275 west, the control city is Columbus (via Interstate 71 north), while the eastbound control city is the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (use Exit 4, Kentucky 212 south). Shields for Interstate 71 and Interstate 75 are posted via Interstate 275 west. The through traffic control city becomes U.S. 27 south to Alexandria. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Southbound Interstate 471 reaches Exit 1B, Interstate 275. The next exit is the connection to Interstate 275 east (left exit). Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
The left two lanes connect to Interstate 275 (Circle Freeway) east, while the right two lanes continue south on Kentucky 471 to U.S. 27. There is no end shield except for the I-471 ends 1/2 mile sign that is posted south of Interstate 275. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
The zero milepost of Interstate 471 is located at the merge of traffic from Interstate 471 south and incoming ramps from Interstate 275 (Circle Freeway). At this point, Interstate 471 ends and unsigned Kentucky 471 begins. Despite the zero milepost, other signage still seems to show that Interstate 471 continues (see the end sign below). However, this is the official end of Interstate 471. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from Kentucky 471 south
After the Interstate 275 interchange is this I-471 Ends 1/2 Mile sign. Although technically this is Kentucky 471 and a state route, the signage advises the Interstate ends so that it is clear that the freeway ends. A traffic signal is found at the end of Kentucky 471 at the junction with U.S. 27. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Continuing south on Kentucky 471, this sign bridge advises of the connections to U.S. 27 north (left lane) and south (right two lanes to Alexandria). Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
A wire span traffic signal governs the flow of traffic as Kentucky 471 south meets U.S. 27. This was the former southern end of Interstate 471, but the Interstate route was retracted to end at Interstate 275. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from U.S. 27 north
This Interstate 471 shield is posted on northbound U.S. 27 at the junction with Kentucky 471. Northbound Kentucky 471 is signed as Interstate 471, while the southbound direction is signed as To U.S. 27. The junction sign for Exits 1A-B (Interstate 275 (Circle Freeway) east and west) can be seen in the distance after the traffic signal. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from Kentucky 471 north
Continuing north after the Interstate 471 and U.S. 27 shield assembly, northbound Kentucky 471 meets Interstate 275 (Circle Freeway). The first ramp connects northbound Kentucky 471 to Interstate 275 east to U.S. 50 and U.S. 52. A left exit provides the connection to Interstate 275 west to Interstate 71-75 and U.S. 25-42-127/Dixie Highway. Interstate 471 begins here, with the zero milepost located near the gore point for the connection to Interstate 275 east. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from Interstate 275 west (south)
The first appearance of Interstate 471 signage on Interstate 275 west is in Ohio, at the split between Interstate 275 south (west) and U.S. 52 west at Exit 72, Kellogg Avenue. Shortly after this interchange, Interstate 275 crosses the Ohio River and immediately approaches the junction with Interstate 471 north to Newport and Cincinnati. Interstate 471 is a faster route to downtown Cincinnati than U.S. 52/Kellogg Avenue. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/03/06).
Perspective from U.S. 52 west
This U.S. 52 reassurance shield is posted on a brief freeway section before U.S. 52 merges onto Interstate 275 west about four miles west of the Interstate 471/Interstate 275 interchange. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/03/06).
The next exit connects U.S. 52 west with Interstate 275 north to Interstate 71 north to Columbus. U.S. 52 briefly merges onto Interstate 275 between Exits 71 and 72; Interstate 275 west then crosses the Ohio River and immediately meets Interstate 471 at Exit 74, only three miles west of here. So, Interstate 471 is a lot closer than might appear otherwise. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/03/06).
Westbound U.S. 52 meets Interstate 275 (Circle Freeway) at this interchange southeast of downtown Cincinnati in Ohio. The right lane exits to Interstate 275 north. Interstate 275 west is signed as a connection to Interstate 471, implying that Interstate 275 would be a better route to Interstate 471 than U.S. 52, which remains in Ohio. This is true, because U.S. 52 follows local streets to downtown Cincinnati, and Interstate 471 is a faster route to downtown from here. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/03/06).
Still in Newport, Kentucky, Interstate 471 north approaches the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge over the Ohio River. Signage advises two routes to Interstate 75: via U.S. 50 west and via Interstate 71 north. Most of Interstate 471 in Ohio provides the freeway connections to Interstate 71 and U.S. 50. Note that the exit numbers do not reset at the state line, which is unusual for a bi-state route. However, Interstate 471 is so short, there is no need to reset them. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Clearing the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge, Interstate 471 enters Ohio. The first exit on northbound Interstate 471 in Cincinnati is the connection to U.S. 50 to Interstate 75 via Columbia Parkway (Exit 6A). Note the button copy sign; this has since been replaced. The final exit is Exit 6B, Sixth Street to downtown Cincinnati. All remaining lanes default from Interstate 471 north onto Interstate 71 north, which travels northeast to Columbus and Cleveland. There is no end shield for Interstate 471. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from Interstate 71 south
This view shows the connection from southbound Interstate 71 to Interstate 471 south on the exit ramp. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from Interstate 71 north
Now traveling north on Interstate 71, a left exit provides the connection to Interstate 471 south and to U.S. 50/Columbia Parkway. The right two lanes carry Interstate 71 north to Columbus and Cleveland. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from U.S. 50 west
This complicated set of signs is posted on U.S. 50 west at the junction with Third Street, approaching the connection to Interstate 471 in Cincinnati. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from U.S. 50 east
Eastbound U.S. 50/Columbia Parkway meets Interstate 471 at this split. The left two lanes follow U.S. 50 east to U.S. 52 east on Columbia Parkway, while the right two lanes depart to Interstate 471 south to Newport, Kentucky. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari/Dan Moraseski (11/01).
Perspective from Fifth Street east in downtown Cincinnati
Now looking along eastbound Fifth Street, these overhead signs show the lane allocations for the connection to Interstate 471. Fifth Street eastbound actually expands to five lanes at this location to allow for these movements, which is allowed due to all Cincinnati streets in the CBD being one way. In order from left to right, these signs show: (1) the first turn is for Sentinel Street which runs alongside the Proctor and Gamble buildings (this is a popular spot for news crews to do live reports on highway conditions during winter); (2) the second lane from the left turns onto Interstate 71 north; (3) the next lane connects to Interstate 471 south; and (4) the right lanes connect to U.S. 50-52 (Columbia Parkway) east. Photo taken by Jeremy Moses (04/04/08).
This view looks toward the ramps from Fifth Street, to Interstate 71 and Interstate 471. The left lane there is allocated for Interstate 71 while the right leads to Interstate 471. Mount Adams, one of Cincinnati's seven hills, is in the background. Photo taken by Jeremy Moses (04/04/08).
Perspective from Interstate 75 south
Signage for Interstate 471 is in place along southbound Interstate 75/Mill Creek Expressway as the freeway approaches its junction with Interstate 71 north near downtown Cincinnati at Exits 1B-1A. Interstate 471 does not connect to Interstate 75, but this signage advises that the connection can be made via Interstate 71 north to Interstate 471 south to Newport, Kentucky. Here, southbound Interstate 75 meets Western Avenue and Liberty Street at Exit 2A. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/03/06).
The next exit along southbound Interstate 75/Mill Creek Expressway is Freeman Avenue to Exit 1F, U.S. 50. The left two lanes become exit only for Interstate 71 north to Interstate 471 south, U.S. 50 east, and U.S. 52 east. The right two lanes continue south on Interstate 71-75 to Covington, Kentucky. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/03/06).
"I-471's birth slow to come - Plans and routes changed many times." The Kentucky Post (Covington, KY), November 30, 1998.
"Change in direction: East-west route along riverfront once envisioned for Interstate 471." Cincinnati Post, May 9, 2005.
"Mt. Adams Project Put on Hold - City Needs Approval of Next Governor." Cincinnati Post, October 25, 1990.
"Holding Back Mt. Adams - Retaining Wall Needs Mending - Three Cables Have Lost Tension." Cincinnati Post, June 1, 1990.
Dan Moraseski provided information regarding the establishment of Kentucky 471.