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Netting to Be Installed this Week as Reopening of Suspension Bridge Nears

Scaffolding and temporary netting are being placed on the John A. Roebling Bridge this week as part of a temporary measure to safely reopen the structure by the end of July, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced on Tuesday.

Once the scaffolding is in place, the contractor will chip off loose pieces of the north tower, requiring periodic closures of the westbound pedestrian walkway. Pedestrians can expect closures between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Wednesday, July 10 through Friday, July 12.

Following work on the north tower, netting will be installed along the bridge to catch any additional sandstone pieces that might break off. Once the netting is installation is complete, the structure will reopen to the public.

The Roebling Bridge has been closed since April 17 as a safety precaution after pieces of sandstone fell on the roadway and the eastbound pedestrian walkway. The westbound sidewalk has remained open to pedestrians.

Performing emergency work on the 152-year-old historic bridge has resulted in a more extensive process than traditional bridge work due to preservation requirements. The innovative netting measure being utilized uses a belting and rigging system to hold the nets in place, meaning nothing will be bolted into the bridge. 

A restoration project addressing routine maintenance – including permanent repairs to the sandstone towers and pedestrian walkways – is currently in the design phase, with construction estimated to start in the spring of 2020.

Motorists can continue to use the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge (U.S. 25) or the Fourth Street/Veterans Bridge (KY 8) to the Taylor Southgate Bridge (U.S. 27) as a detour until the work is complete. 

-Staff report