Roebling Bridge Repairs to Begin in 2021, Take Nine Months
When work resumes on permanent repairs to the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati, it is expected to last nine months.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) - District 6 Chief Engineer Bob Yeager announced the timeline during Thursday's meeting of the Covington Business Council.
Work is expected to start in February of 2021 at a cost of $8 million.
"When we perform maintenance on this bridge, we have to adhere to guidelines that ensure that the bridge looks a very particular way," Yeager said before listing the items that needed to be completed on the bridge complete with 'ka-ching' sound effects.
Sandstone on one of the bridge's historic towers fell last year forcing a months-long closure that impacted traffic around the Ohio River and businesses in Covington's Roebling Point entertainment district.
Because of the bridge's age, it was built in the 1860s, workers are required to follow meticulous steps to match its aesthetic.
Currently, KYTC is collecting proposals from qualified contractors to accomplish two goals: sandstone masonry work and an update to the steel gates over which vehicles travel.
"The sandstone for these repairs is being particularly sourced to match the existing structures on the bridge," Yeager said. "There aren't too many sandstone quarries in Northern Kentucky - ka-ching."
Yeager stated that the work will take place mostly on the top 25-feet of the sandstone structures. He said that his goal is to keep one lane of traffic open for vehicles, and at least one of the sidewalks open for pedestrians. However, he noted that his goal for the sidewalks made the project more expensive because of the raised safety needs.
Since the project is still under its proposal phase, Yeager said that he didn't know how long it would actually take, but did say that he expects it to last for nine months.
"I'm like the father of the bride," Yeager said. "I write the checks but I don't get to make the decisions. But we won't start until we have the money to complete it, and if it's substantially more than $8 million then we may reassess and postpone the project."
City of Covington Economic Development Director Tom West hinted that the city is working with Northern Kentucky Tri-ED to secure a deal that would land four company headquarters and more than a thousand jobs. No further details were offered.
West also congratulated Hotel Covington on its forthcoming expansion into neighboring buildings.
Written by Connor Wall, associate editor