Kentucky Officials Announce Roebling Bridge Will Likely Reopen by August

If the state's Historic Preservation Office approves the temporary repair plan, a contractor will install netting to catch crumbling sandstone ahead of a permanent repair next year.

The Roebling Suspension Bridget - Hailey Bollinger
Hailey Bollinger
The Roebling Suspension Bridget

Officials have selected a contractor to fix the crumbling sandstone that shut down the Roebling Suspension Bridge in April, and work should be completed and cars flowing across the historic span by August, the Kentucky Transportation announced today.

The state will pay Structural Systems Repair Group $77,998 to install netting 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 must approve the plan

"This is good news," Covington City Manager David Johnston said in a statement today. "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 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 April 17, the bridge carried roughly 8,000 cars a day. 

"We appreciate the public's patience while we explored options that would not compromise the integrity of this historic bridge," KYTC Department of Highways Northern Kentucky Office Chief District Engineer Bob Yeager said in a news release. "We now have a plan and timeline in place and will work diligently to get the bridge back open to traffic."

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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