Covington’s Suspension Bridge to Close

A historic suspension bridge in northern Kentucky will close later this month for repairs.

The John A. Roebling bridge will be closed to vehicles beginning Nov. 13 for five months so that about $3 million in structural and electrical repairs can be done. The two-lane bridge that connects Covington and Cincinnati will remain open to pedestrians.

Through April 22, signs will direct motorists on Third Street in Cincinnati to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge to Fifth Street in Covington, state highway officials said. From Covington, drivers will be directed along Fourth Street to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, then to Second Street in Cincinnati.

“These repairs are needed to preserve the bridge for generations to come,” said Tom Schomaker, executive director for the cabinet’s Northern Kentucky office.

During the project, at least one of the bridge’s two walkways will be open to pedestrians. Covington officials had lobbied the state to keep the bridge open to pedestrian traffic, including frequent walkers and joggers and sports fans who park in Covington and cross the bridge to get to Reds and Bengals games.

Schomaker described the bridge linking Covington and Cincinnati as “a national piece of history.”

John A. Roebling started building the span 150 years ago. It serves as the prototype for New York’s more famous Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge opened to pedestrians Dec. 1, 1866, and it opened to horse and buggy traffic a month later.

The improvements to be made include repairs to the steel grid bridge deck and some of the supporting beams beneath the deck, Schomaker said. Also, all electrical wiring for roadway, pedestrian and navigational lighting will be improved.

A decision on the bridge’s paint color won’t be made until next year, state highway officials said.