Suspension Bridge to open this evening

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COVINGTON, Ky. - The wait is over: The newly repaired Roebling Suspension Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati will open later today, four days ahead of schedule.
 
Mostly.
 
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet told City of Covington officials this morning that the upstream walkway and the roadway will reopen this Friday evening by 6 to vehicles and pedestrians.
 
But the downstream walkway will remain closed so the contractor can do some last-minute work and cleanup. Over the weekend, that walkway will likely open too, KYTC officials said.
 
“This is great news for not only the businesses near the river in Covington but also for commuters and visitors and everybody who uses the bridge to get back and forth across the Ohio,” Covington City Manager David Johnston said.
 
The 151-year-old structure was damaged March 20 when a car hit a primary vertical column, cracking and distorting it. The historic bridge was immediately closed to vehicles and then was closed to pedestrians three days later as a safety precaution.
 
The state awarded an emergency repair contract to Cincinnati-based Evers Steel Construction on April 13 for work expected to cost about $62,000.
 
The crack in the bridge was actually in a vertical plate installed as part of a strengthening project in the 1890s. The company removed the damaged plate, heated and straightened the primary column and then installed a new plate.
 
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said the City appreciated both the expedited bid process and the fact that the state and its contractor was able to finish the work four days ahead of the previously announced May 1 deadline.
 
“We pressured them and they worked hard to respond,” he said. “They knew it was a high priority for us and they treated it as such.”
 
The bridge, which originally opened to vehicular traffic on New Year’s Day 1867, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1975 and a National Historic Civic Engineering Landmark in 1982.
 
During its lifetime, it has carried everything from horse-drawn carriages to streetcars to modern vehicles.
 
Today, more than 8,000 cars a day cross the bridge.
 

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