had always played an important role in the transportation history of Covington.
Located in the extreme western portion of the city, Lewisburg became Covington’s
gateway to the south with the construction of the Lexington Turnpike (nor
Dixie Highway). This role was solidified with the construction of the
Fort Mitchell Car Line by the Cincinnati, Covington & Newport Street
Railway Company at the turn of the century.
In the years following World War II, the federal government began planning
for the construction of cross-country interstates that would link the
nations major cities. Interstate 75, which would eventually link Michigan
in the north to Florida in the south, would serve the Greater Cincinnati
area. Several proposed routes were studied, including a route that would
have followed the Dixie Highway and another that would have cut through
Ludlow and followed the Southern Railroad tracks.
Covington officials opposed plans for the interstate to be built within
the city limits. The Covington business community, however, pushed strongly
for the interstate to be built in Covington. They feared that if the interstate
was built outside of Covington, it would draw away thousands of customers
and many businesses.
By the mid 1950s, the current route through Covington was selected. A
bridge in Covington’s West End would be built to carry the traffic
across the Ohio River. The interstate would then follow the Willow Run
Creek in the Lewisburg Neighborhood and then head southwest. The construction
of the expressway did great damage to Lewisburg. One hundred homes in
Covington were purchased by the federal government and demolished –
many of these were located in the Lewisburg Neighborhood. The section
of the interstate between 5th Street in Covington and Florence was completed
in September 1962.
The interstate route through Covington did not save area businesses. Instead,
business and industry moved further south and west to the suburbs and
rural areas of Northern Kentucky. Many Lewisburg homes had been destroyed
and others were left very close to the interstate. Not only did the interstate
lure away business from Covington, but it also brought noise and pollution
to the Lewisburg Neighborhood. These changing conditions in the neighborhood
convinced many more residents to leave for the suburbs.
Reis, Jim, Pieces of the Past Vol. 1, (Covington: Kentucky Post)
1988, p. 198-200.