Bridge reopening within sight

The Suspension Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for two months

State plan completes temporary fix by end of July

COVINGTON, Ky. - The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will reopen by the end of July, according to a temporary repair plan announced by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet this afternoon.

KYTC said the plan would involve installing netting to the north tower to catch any sandstone that falls before a more intensive and previously planned renovation can be undertaken next year.
Once KYTC issues the notice to proceed to its contractor, Structural Systems Repair Group, the contractor will install the netting within four weeks, the state said. The bid is for just under $78,000.
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’s roadway and its upriver sidewalk have been closed since April 17, after pieces of sandstone fell from the east side of the bridge’s north tower onto the roadway and the sidewalk. The downriver walkway has remained open.
The bridge is a critical link between Covington and Cincinnati for customers and commuters alike, carrying more than 8,000 cars a day in addition to many pedestrians. Many Covington retail shops and restaurants say their sales have suffered since the closure
“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 office in Northern Kentucky. “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 its weight limits and preservation requirements, and KYTC’s repair plan had to be approved by the State Historic Preservation Office, the state said.
A restoration project addressing routine maintenance, including permanent repairs to the sandstone towers and pedestrian walkways, is in the design phase with construction estimated to start in the spring of 2020.
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