Roebling Suspension Bridge to (Mostly) Reopen Friday Evening
Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:01 RCN Newsdesk
The 5-week long local nightmare is over.
The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will partially reopen Friday, days ahead of of schedule.
It closed to vehicles March 20 when something described as a bootleg cab from Cincinnati crashed into it. Days later it closed to pedestrians, too, for safety reasons.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet - District 6 Office said, after hiring a contractor, that it would reopen by May 1. Today, the Cabinet told the City of Covington that the bridge would reopen to cars and that the upstream walkway would reopen to pedestrians by 6 p.m. Friday.
The downstream walkway will remain closed so the contractor can finish some last-minute work and clean-up. That section should reopen over the weekend, a news release said.
"This is great news for not only the businesses near the river in Covington but also for commuters and visitors and everybody who uses the bridge to get back and forth across the Ohio," Covington City Manager David Johnston said.
The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce scheduled a party to celebrate the bridge's reopening and to support the impacted businesses.
The 151-year-old structure was damaged March 20 when a car hit a primary vertical column, cracking and distorting it. The historic bridge was immediately closed to vehicles and then was closed to pedestrians three days later as a safety precaution.
The state awarded an emergency repair contract to Cincinnati-based Evers Steel Construction on April 13 for work expected to cost about $62,000.
The crack in the bridge was actually in a vertical plate installed as part of a strengthening project in the 1890s. The company removed the damaged plate, heated and straightened the primary column and then installed a new plate.
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said the City appreciated both the expedited bid process and the fact that the state and its contractor was able to finish the work four days ahead of the previously announced May 1 deadline.
"We pressured them and they worked hard to respond," he said. "They knew it was a high priority for us and they treated it as such."
The bridge, which originally opened to vehicular traffic on New Year's Day 1867, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1975 and a National Historic Civic Engineering Landmark in 1982.
During its lifetime, it has carried everything from horse-drawn carriages to streetcars to modern vehicles.
Today, more than 8,000 cars a day cross the bridge.
Photo: Roebling Suspension Bridge (RCN file)