A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Plan approved to reopen John A. Roebling Bridge, closed since mid-April, by the end of July

A temporary measure to safely reopen the John A. Roebling Bridge has been approved by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) allowing a contractor install netting to the north tower to catch potential sandstone that could break away.

Once KYTC issues the notice to proceed to Structural Systems Repair Group (SSRG), the contractor will produce and install the netting within four weeks. The bridge and east side pedestrian walkway are expected to reopen to traffic by the end of July.

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

“We appreciate the public’s patience while we explored options that would not compromise the integrity of this historic bridge,” said Bob Yeager, chief district engineer for the KYTC Department of Highways District 6 office. “We now have a plan and timeline in place and will work diligently to get the bridge back open to traffic.”

Performing emergency work on a 152-year-old historic bridge is a more extensive process than traditional bridge work due to preservation requirements. Along with KYTC officials, the State Historic Preservation Office had to approve the plan.

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.

The Roebling Bridge carries approximately 8,100 vehicles a day.

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.

KYTC intends to award SSRG the $77,998 low-bid contract.

Residents are encouraged to like the District 6 Facebook page or follow District 6 on Twitter (@KYTCDistrict6) for updates.

Covington city officials said the reopening couldn’t happen soon enough.

“This is good news,” City Manager David Johnston said. “Our businesses – especially those located near the bridge – have felt a substantial negative impact every day that bridge has been shut down, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting this announcement. Now we look forward to this work being finished as quickly as possible.”

The bridge is a critical link between Covington and Cincinnati for customers and commuters alike. Many Covington retail shops and restaurants say their sales have suffered since the closure


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