COVINGTON, Ky. -- The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge reopened Friday afternoon, ahead of schedule.
Originally scheduled to reopen to auto, bicycle and pedestrian traffic Tuesday, May 1, the bridge closed after it was damaged in a crash in March. A piece of steel added in the 1890s to strengthen the structure cracked when a car smashed into it.
The west side pedestrian walkway will remain closed to allow for final repairs.
"The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet appreciates everyone's patience during the temporary closure to repair and preserve this historic landmark," said KYTC District 6 spokeswoman Nancy Wood in a news release Friday morning.
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer credited the state and contractor, Cincinnati-based Evers Steel Construction: "We pressured them and they worked hard to respond. They knew it was high priority for us and they treated it as such," he said in a release.
As a result of the bridge's closure, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky offered free fare on its Southbank Shuttle between Northern Kentucky and Downtown through May 31. The bridge was one of two crossing points for the shuttle, along with the Taylor Southgate Bridge in Newport.
Police said the crash was a hit-and-run incident, in which the driver lied about operating the vehicle before being released by police on the scene.
Investigators are still searching for the suspected driver, 24-year-old Demarko Page of Cincinnati. He is facing charges of falsely reporting an incident, operating a motor vehicle on a suspended or revoked license and failure of owner to maintain required insurance.
The Roebling Bridge first opened for traffic in 1867. At the time, it was the world's longest bridge.