The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6 (which covers Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Kenton, Owen, Pendleton and Robertson counties) announced April 17 that the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, which connects Cincinnati and Covington, would be closing to vehicular traffic until further notice.
Some sandstone fragments broke off the east side of the north tower — “large enough to have killed someone," according to Covington Mayor Joe Meyer — and the closure is necessary to "ensure the safety of vehicles and pedestrians from the potential of additional falling debris," says the KTC.
Now the City of Covington has said that even an emergency repair of the bridge is likely a couple of months away.
In a release, the city said that while Chief District Engineer Robert Yeager of the KTC was unable to provide a specific timetable for the bridge repairs, it would take at least six to eight weeks to figure out a repair plan, get bids and do repairs.
“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 in the release.
The city had been planning to address the crumbling sandstone via an $8 million repair project next spring. That project was currently in the design phase and the same consultant is now developing "temporary remedies that would allow the bridge to reopen as soon as possible," said the release.
Any slated repairs to the 152-year-old structure are complicated by its status as a National Historic Landmark and its weight limit.