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Cut-in-the-Hill is a 1.3-mile (2.1 km) stretch of highway in Covington, Kentucky signed as part of both Interstate 71 and Interstate 75.[1] It is a steep descent into the valley of the Ohio River between Kyles Lane and the Brent Spence Bridge near Cincinnati, Ohio.[2] The hill is known for its high number of automobile accidents.[3][4] In 2006 the Cut-in-the-Hill averaged over seven times more accidents when compared to similar roadways in Kentucky.[3]

At the Cut-in-the-Hill the northbound road takes a sharp left turn into a steep grade down to the Ohio River—about 370 feet (110 m) in 4 miles (6.4 km).[5] Accidents are usually attributed to a combination of speeding, curvy lanes, poor weather, longer stopping times for trucks traveling downhill, and traffic congestion.[3]


Year Wrecks at Cut-in-the-Hill[3]
2003 45
2004 72
2005 74
2006 80

The area earned the sobriquet "Death Hill"[5][6] shortly after Interstate 75 opened in 1962.[5] By 1968 a total of 23 people died in crashes on the hill[5] so a concrete wall was installed to separate northbound and southbound traffic.[5] The wall helped reduce fatal crashes but accidents continued, and in 1977 the hill averaged 583 automobile accidents per year.[5]

In 1986 a tractor-trailer lost control, leading to an accident that caused a Northern Kentucky University student to burn to death in his car.[5] As a result, Governor Martha Layne Collins banned most northbound tractor-trailer traffic from the hill.[5] From 1989 until 1994 $50-million in reconstruction was spent to straighten the hill's S-curve and add a fourth lane for southbound traffic,[3] and in 1995 the truck ban was lifted.[3]

In 2006 the hill and the Brent Spence Bridge saw 151 crashes in the northbound lane and 121 crashes in the southbound lane, totaling 272 in all.[7] To help reduce the number of accidents a flashing "Steep Grade" sign was installed,[7] and a Kentucky State Police trooper was assigned to patrol just the Cut-in-the-Hill.[3] Additionally, eight radar speed signs were installed in 2007 to remind motorists to drive a safer speed.[8]

The Cut-in-the-Hill was originally designed to carry up to 80,000 vehicles per day, but in 2006 it carried 155,000 daily.[3] Kentucky officials are reportedly working to raise more than $2 billion to replace the section of highway,[3] but as of 2012 no construction is planned.[3]


  1. ^ Smith, Steve; et al. (2007). "Around Town". Cincinnati USA City Guide. Cincinnati Magazine. p. 79. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  2. ^ "Travel Restrictions Lifted, But Officials Urge Caution". WLWT. January 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Saladin, Luke E. (January 6, 2007). "Is Cut-in-the-Hill unsafe?". Cincinnati Post. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  4. ^ "Aggressive Driving Crackdown Starts". October 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Eigelbach, Kevin (2007-01-31). "Is I-75 Cut plan making the grade?". Kentucky Post. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  6. ^ Saladin, Luke E. (January 11, 2007). "Why 'Cut' warning might work". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  7. ^ a b Rutledge, Mike (January 10, 2007). "'Cut-in-hill' wrecks pile up: 272 crashes in '06; warning will flash". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  8. ^ Kettler, Shannon (2007-09-17). "New Radar Speed Signs On Display On I-75". Retrieved 2009-01-28. 

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Coordinates: 39°4′00″N 84°31′14″W / 39.06667°N 84.52056°W / 39.06667; -84.52056