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Reopening of Roebling Bridge Delayed Again

July will pass without the John A. Roebling Bridge reopening.

The historic span between Covington and Cincinnati has been closed since April 17 after sandstone fell on the roadway and eastbound walkway.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced Monday that the opening was pushed back to August 9.

Initially, the goal was to have the bridge open by the end of July. This target date had to be revised due to unforeseen challenges with the installation of the safety netting on the 152-year old historic structure, KYTC said. 

“This project has been very challenging and we are working diligently to get the Roebling bridge open,” said Robert Yeager, KYTC chief district engineer. “We want to be sure that the netting is secure for public safety and to protect the integrity of our historic bridge.”

Netting is currently being installed on the bridge as part of a temporary measure to safely reopen the structure after several sandstone pieces broke away from the north tower.  

Contractors removed an estimated 200 pounds of loose stone. One piece weighed 60 lbs.

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, KYTC said. The netting measure being utilized uses a belting and rigging system to hold the nets in place. Once the netting installation is complete, and the scaffolding removed the structure will reopen to the public.

The bridge and eastbound walkway have been closed since April 17 as a safety precaution. The western walkway has remained open. 

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