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State Officials Explore Options for Closed 4th Street Bridge

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet released additional information about what led to the closure of the Fourth Street/Veterans Bridge between Covington and Newport over the Licking River.

The closure, which only impacts vehicles and not pedestrians, was first announced on Tuesday.

A state inspection team found deterioration on the bridge in a "primary load-carrying member."

State officials are looking at immediate options, which include keeping the bridge closed until an emergency repair is made, and also possibly re-opening it with lane restrictions and a reduced weight limit.

"We are going with a safety-first approach for the 4th Street Bridge," said Bob Yeager, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways' District 6 office. "KYTC officials are looking at a number of options. It might be possible to open the bridge back up, with restrictions, until a repair is made." 

The inspection on Tuesday was the regularly scheduled annual look at the bridge. The deterioration was found in a steel beam on the Newport approach to the main span.

Yeager notified Covington officials of the closure today and told Covington Mayor Joe Meyer that District 6 officials should know more this week.

Mayor Meyer noted that the bridge carries almost 14,000 vehicles a day and said he hoped that state engineers could find a quick solution that would reopen the bridge.

"I can't stress enough how important this connection is, not only between Covington and cities in Campbell County but also between an array of attractions, like the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, the Newport Aquarium and restaurant districts all along the Ohio River," Meyer said. "Having it severed even for a short while is extremely detrimental to both Covington and its neighbors to the east, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton."

Pedestrians can still use the bridge's walkways, and bicycle riders can use the roadway.

Motorists traveling from Covington to Newport will need to use the Licking Valley Girl Scout Bridge, accessed via M.L. King Jr. Blvd./12th Street. Or they can take one of three Ohio River bridges into Cincinnati and then another bridge into Newport.

The Fourth Street bridge was dedicated July 23, 1936, with the official name of "World War Veterans Memorial Bridge."

-Staff report

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