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The Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee (CCSBC) is a citizens group dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the John A. Roebling Bridge.

Learn more about what we do and please consider joining our efforts.

The John A. Roebling Bridge 

(Officially opened January 1, 1867) 

The John A. Roebling Bridge has been an iconic landmark over the Ohio River for more than 150 years. Designed by civil engineer John Roebling, the bridge officially opened to traffic on January 1, 1867. Its 1,075 foot span made it the longest bridge in the world.

The bridge is an engineering marvel that employed several new bridge-building techniques. Perhaps its most impressive features are the two primary cables, each containing 5,180 individual wires. The cables were “spun” in place using wire imported from England. A second set of cables was added in 1897 to support heavier loads.

In addition to being a National Historic Landmark, the bridge has been designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Although the Roebling shares the riverfront with several bridges today, it remains a major thoroughfare for pedestrians and vehicles. Many residents use it to get to work each day, access the riverfront sports venues, and to reach the bars and restaurants in Covington and Cincinnati. 

We invite you to walk across the Roebling Bridge for an up-close look at its structure and the views offered along its span. 

 

Roebling News

John A. Roebling Bridge Restoration Project Update

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COVINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2022) – The John A. Roebling Bridge restoration project continues as engineers work to design plans for additional repairs to address deeper masonry stone deterioration uncovered in a section of the archway during the project. The project is on track to reopen this spring to vehicular traffic.

“Like the citizens and businesses in Covington and Cincinnati, we are eager to reopen the bridge but we’re committed to doing it right by not cutting any corner that may compromise safety,” said chief district engineer, Bob Yeager, “Repairing a structure this old sometimes means making necessary adjustments in repair plans to address things that can only be best seen once you’re ‘under the hood.’ Our consultants and crews are working as hard as they can to safely recommission this historic structure.”

The bridge, which spans the Ohio River and officially opened on Jan. 1, 1867, has been closed to vehicular traffic since Feb. 15, 2021 for extensive maintenance. A pedestrian sidewalk has been open throughout the project and will remain open during the project extension.

The Roebling Bridge ordinarily carries about 8,100 vehicles a day. Alternative crossings are the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge (US 25) or the 4th Street/Veterans Bridge (KY 8) to the Taylor Southgate Bridge (US 27). 

Restoration Update Video

The Roebling Bridge Restoration Project

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The Roebling Bridge remains closed to vehicular traffic, as the restoration project to preserve the 154- year old landmark is still underway. The $4.7 million project focuses on masonry work, the repair and replacement of sections of sandstone on the north and south anchorages and towers, stabilizing the roadway, and minor sidewalk repair. 

Due to the bridge’s status as a historic landmark, there are federal guidelines for restoration and rehabilitation that have been prescribed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The guidelines include matching construction materials as closely as possible to the original material, restoring any deteriorated or missing features to their original appearance, preserving features and building materials from the original, and removing things that were added later that don’t mesh with the original construction.

One of the most painstaking and exacting portions of the current project will be the restoration and surgical repair of several thousand square feet of masonry using a technique known as “dutchman.” The technique is used to repair cracked or eroded stone that can allow water to enter, then freeze and expand, which can cause the face of the stone to break off. In fact, some will remember that the bridge was closed back in April 2019 as a safety precaution after sandstone fragments actually did break from the east side of the north tower. This resulted in the installation of the temporary netting, and the bridge was reopened in August 2019. The dutchman restoration process involves fabricating and sizing the replacement pieces, matching them to original, setting them, and then fixing them to the original. 

Because the stone is not being entirely replaced, the restoration company needs to match the color, texture, and grain size of the original as closely as possible. Lithko Restoration Technologies, who is performing the work, is up to the challenge and found a family-owned quarry in southeast Ohio, Waller Brothers Stone Co. in Scioto County, to shop stone slabs to the site. The majority of Lithko’s work will involve this scouring of the north and south towers to search and restore stone that needs repairing. 

In addition to the stone work, the project will also involve road work. The entire approach to the bridge on the Cincinnati side will be rebuilt. And, both walkways will receive repairs. Currently, the plan is to have one walkway remain open at all times for pedestrians.

We encourage you to take advantage of the open walkways and our new self-guided QR code tours and come see the construction progress for yourself! The bridge is anticipated to reopen to traffic by the end of November and the overall project is expected to complete by the end of the year.

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““… this bridge, when constructed, will possess great claims as a national monument. As a splendid work of art and as a remarkable specimen of the modern engineering and construction, it will stand unrivaled upon the continent. Its gigantic features will speak loudly in favor of the energy and enterprise of its possession.””

John A. Roebling, 1846

 

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The CCSBC welcomes cash or electronic donations to support the work of the Committee. Please donate online using the button above.