Daniel Carter Beard Bridge (Interstate 471)

The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge, also known as the “Big Mac” bridge due to its golden yellow arches that resemble McDonald’s corporate logo, carries Interstate 471 over the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio and Newport, Kentucky.1

Planning for an interstate span over the Ohio River on the eastern fringe of downtown Cincinnati began as early as 1961, when diagrams were presented at public meetings boasting of a riverfront expressway from Interstates 71 and 75 at the Brent Spence Bridge eastward through Covington and Newport, where it would cross the river into Cincinnati. The riverfront expressway plans were soon dropped after much opposition, and a north-south alignment from a proposed beltway was chosen instead.

Right-of-way acquisition for the bridge began in January 1968, and construction began on the crossing in November 1971 after initial construction bids sought in the fall of 1970 were rejected as too high.1 2 The signature span was designed by Hazelet + Erdal.

In September 1976, the still-unnamed span opened to limited traffic, connecting Interstate 71 in Ohio to Kentucky State Route 8 in Covington, completed at a cost of $14 million. Interstate 471 southward to U.S. Route 27 was still under construction. On October 5, the bridge was named after Daniel Carter Beard, the founder of the Boy Scouts of America.1 The Scouts had lobbied hard for the span to bear his name, with some paddling down the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers to carry petitions to the governor in Frankfort, Kentucky. The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge was formally dedicated on February 14, 1977, with Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown leading the dedication ceremonies.

The crossing carried 3 lanes in each direction, along with a shoulder. In December 2000, the bridge was restriped for four lanes in each direction, eliminating the shoulder.

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  • Statistics
  • Sources
  • Designation: Interstate 471
  • Crosses: Ohio River
  • Bridge Type: Arch
  • Total Length: 2,099 feet
  • Main Span Length: 750 feet
  • Deck Width: 50 feet
  • Vertical Clearance Above Deck: 18 feet
  1. Reis, Jim. “Change in direction – East-west route along riverfront once envisioned for Interstate 471.” Kentucky Post 9 May 2005. 26 Nov. 2007: K4.
  2. Reis, Jim. “I-471’s birth slow to come.” Kentucky Post 30 Nov. 1998. 26 Nov. 2007: 4K.

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