COVINGTON, Ky. — The $16.2 million painting project on the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will begin Wednesday, closing the historic landmark to vehicular traffic for several months. The bridge is scheduled to close to all but pedestrian traffic at 9 a.m.
There will be a signed detour using the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge route. Motorists can also use the Taylor Southgate (US 27) bridge, in Newport. For pedestrians, one sidewalk will remain open throughout the project. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet reminds pedestrians that the sidewalk is within a work zone and all safety measures will be enforced.
The contractor spent three weekends in March preparing the structure for this phase of the project, which involves the Kentucky approach and the main span. The painting of the Ohio approach was completed in December 2009.
The project will involve two painting crews working in 100-foot containment sections on the structure. The old paint will be removed and three coats of a fresh shade of blue will be applied. Vimas Painting Co., of Campbell, Ohio, was awarded the painting contract.
A concurrent project in the city of Cincinnati will also affect traffic beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The Banks project work will close Theodore M. Berry Way from Elm Street to the project area near the Ohio approach to the Roebling Bridge. Rosa Parks Way will also be closed at Freedom Way. Detours will be posted. The closure will allow utility work to begin.
This fall will be a celebration for the Ohio River communities as both of the projects are scheduled to be completed by Nov. 15, 2010.
· John A Roebling was born in Germany in 1806. He came to the United States in 1831 to practice his profession as an engineer.
· In the mid-1800s, Cincinnati was a leading inland port with an abundance of ferry traffic from Newport and Covington to Cincinnati. A bridge was needed. Roebling submitted a design and was awarded the project.
· Excavation work for towers began in 1856.
· A decade of construction was interrupted by funding shortfalls and the Civil War. The bridge opened to pedestrians in December 1866.
· The 1,057-foot main span was at the time the longest in the world. It cost $1.8 million.
· Roebling used the same techniques to design the Brooklyn Bridge, which surpassed the Cincinnati Bridge in length and every other statistic when it opened in 1883.
· Roebling died in New York in 1869 of injuries sustained on the construction site of the Brooklyn Bridge.
· The Roebling Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1982.
· Kentucky purchased the bridge in 1953 for $4.2 million. The state collected tolls until 1963 when the Brent Spence Bridge was opened downriver on Interstate 75.
· Since 1976, the Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee, a non-profit group, has been dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the Roebling Bridge. The committee is currently raising money to fund upgrades to the decorative necklace lighting. For more information go to http://www.roeblingbridge.com/
· The bridge, known locally as the Suspension Bridge or the Singing Bridge, was named in honor of Roebling in 1983.
· In 2006, a $3.1 million project made repairs to the steel grid bridge deck as well as the supporting beams beneath the deck. All wiring for roadway lighting, pedestrian lighting and navigational lighting was upgraded.
· The bridge was last fully painted in 1980. (Note: In previous press releases the date of 1976 was given as the last time the Roebling Bridge was painted. 1980 is the correct date).