COVINGTON, Ky. - Even an expedited, emergency repair of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will likely take a couple of months, Covington leaders said after hearing an update from state highway officials about the closed bridge.
The Suspension Bridge’s roadway and its upriver sidewalk were blocked off April 17 after sandstone fragments - including a chunk “large enough to have killed someone” - fell from the east side of the bridge’s north tower, Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said.
Meyer said at the Covington City Commission meeting Tuesday night that he had talked to Chief District Engineer Robert Yeager of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet earlier in the day to get an update.
While Yeager was unable yet to provide a specific timetable, Meyer said it was obvious that it would take at least six to eight weeks - if not longer - to figure out a repair plan, get bids, and do the repair.
“We appreciate that state highway officials are working hard to get the Suspension Bridge reopen as soon as possible, but nevertheless we’ve been taking every opportunity to reiterate the importance of the bridge to Covington businesses and commuters,” Mayor Meyer said.
Meyer said he was told that the Cabinet was coincidentally already planning to address the crumbling sandstone on the towers next spring through an $8 million repair project that is currently in the design phase.
The same consultant now is working on developing “temporary remedies” that would allow the bridge to reopen as soon as possible, the state said.
Both projects are complicated by the 152-year-old bridge’s weight limit and its status as a National Historic Landmark.
More than 8,000 cars a day travel the bridge, carrying commuters, shoppers and visitors between Covington and Cincinnati. It’s also an important crossing for pedestrians, with foot traffic particularly heavy on game days for the Cincinnati Reds.
# # #