Kentucky Officials Announce the Roebling Suspension Bridge Will Reopen to Auto Traffic

A more permanent effort to fix the span's crumbling sandstone will start next year

The Roebling Suspension Bridge - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The Roebling Suspension Bridge

Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6 Office have announced that the Roebling Suspension Bridge will reopen to both pedestrian and automobile traffic on Friday, Aug. 9.  

KYTC District 6 wrote on social media:

"The Kentucky Department of Transportation District 6 office announces plans to reopen the John A. Roebling Bridge and walkways tomorrow afternoon, Friday, Aug. 9 to allow use by vehicles and pedestrians. The bridge and eastbound walkway were closed in mid-April as a safety precaution after sandstone fell on the roadway and the eastbound walkway. Netting was installed as a temporary measure to safely reopen the structure after several sandstone pieces broke away from the towers. Remember construction and maintenance activities are scheduled on a tentative basis and are subject to change depending on weather conditions, emergencies and other factors beyond the control of the Department of Highways. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet appreciates your patience during the construction process."

The state paid Structural Systems Repair Group $77,998 to install netting on the bridge's north tower that will catch any other pieces of sandstone that might fall between now and the time the bridge is permanently repaired. Because the 152-year-old span is a national historic landmark, the Kentucky Historic Preservation Office had to approve the plan.

The 1,057-foot span was the world's longest suspension bridge at the time it opened in 1866. Its architect, John A. Roebling, went on to design the Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883. Before it was closed to automotive traffic in April, the Roebling carried roughly 8,000 cars a day. 

A more permanent effort to fix the span's crumbling sandstone will start next year, necessitating further closures on the bridge, officials say. That project, still in the design stages, is expected to cost roughly $8 million. 

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