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City Shutters, Inspects Purple People Bridge After Stone Falls

This story has been updated.

The Newport Southbank Bridge, more commonly referred to as the Purple People Bridge, was closed Tuesday afternoon, the City of Cincinnati said, after a large stone fell from the first pier out of the Ohio River.

The city said that the falling stone loosened one of the other stones directly underneath.

For public safety concerns, the pedestrian bridge was to be closed.

Cincinnati engineers were sent to inspect it.

The City of Cincinnati later stated that the City of Newport has closed the bridge to all traffic.

Access to the bridge will be restricted until a full inspection determining safety can be completed.

The bridge is owned by the Newport Southbank Bridge Company and programmed by Newport-based Southbank Partners. The Party on the Purple event series is scheduled to host its weekly event on Wednesday.

"With the Purple People Bridge closed earlier today after a stone reportedly fell from a bridge pier into the Ohio River, Wednesday’s scheduled Party on the Purple will be moved to Newport’s Festival Park, the riverfront area between the Purple People and Taylor Southgate bridges," the Newport-Southbank Bridge Co. said in a statement. "The band the Whammies, drink booths and food trucks will be set up at Festival Park for the ‘80s themed party, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 6 p.m.

"After a large stone reportedly fell from the Purple People Bridge into the Ohio River Tuesday afternoon, the Newport Southbank Bridge Company was informed by the Newport Police that the bridge will be temporarily closed to the public. Access will be restricted until a qualified structural engineer can review the structure and determine when it is safe for the public to return to the bridge. We will continue to work with the cities of Newport and Cincinnati on this evolving situation."

This story will be updated when more information is known.

Restrictions on bridges between Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati has become frequent and common in recent months.

Currently, the Roebling Suspension Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati is closed to motorists entirely, and pedestrians on one side, as part of a months-long restoration project.

The Brent Spence Bridge, which connects Covington to Cincinnati by way of Interstates 71 and 75, also has multiple lanes restricted through November as part of a months-long maintenance project.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher