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Businesses near Roebling Bridge concerned about traffic as Brent Spence remains closed

Cincygram: Roebling Suspension Bridge dazzles by day and by night
Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 13, 2020

COVINGTON, Ky. — Richard Hunt, owner of Roebling Point Books and Coffee in Covington, said he’s seen it all when it comes to the nearby John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge.

But even he said he was surprised to see bumper-to-bumper traffic on the bridge Wednesday night, including semis and other heavy commercial vehicles trying to avoid the closed Brent Spence Bridge.

“That’s not the kind of traffic you want to see,” he said. “There’s good surprises and bad surprises -- that’s a bad surprise.”

Police said they were forced to close the historic bridge late Wednesday night, as too many commercial drivers ignored its weight limits. Cincinnati police said the bridge would reopen Friday night.

“You want to take care of that bridge," Hunt said. "It’s the icon for Cincinnati. Certainly it’ll be frustrating for everybody."

Business owners like Hunt, with stores situated near the Roebling, say they’re not as concerned about local traffic, but they are worried about folks from out of town not being prepared for the closed Brent Spence Bridge.

Hunt knows weekends bring Bengals home games and folks from out of town passing through.

“You feel bad for those people who have obviously been forced off the highway,” he said.

RELATED: KYTC reopening portion of I-71/75 North

Inside Hunt’s shop are a lot of books, but no roadmap to get you out of the traffic mess.

“I fear the Atlas is a creature of a bygone era," he said. "But certainly the people working behind the coffee bar have helped with directions as much as you can.”

And Hunt recommends finding other ways to get around, including those on two wheels.

“Ride a bike. This is like ‘reason number 56’ to bring bikes back to the urban core. We have a Red Bike station out in front. It’s faster for me to ride to Newport on the Levee than it is to drive, almost by half the time.”

Police on both sides of the river said they’ll be monitoring to make sure semi trucks aren’t using the Roebling as it reopens Friday.

"Semis and other trucks violating the weight limit will be stopped at the bridge and cited for disregarding the newly posted signage restricting their access to the bridge," read a statement from Covington Police.

Meanwhile, Kentucky authorities said the Brent Spence Bridge will likely remain closed for weeks.

“It feels like another element of 2020, just a year of complete unpredictability,” Hunt said.

RELATED: Getting around the Tri-State while Brent Spence is closed