COVINGTON, Ky. — The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge has been closed to vehicles for more than eight weeks, but state transportation officials said they should have a solution soon.
In a news release Thursday morning, Covington city officials said the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet promised "a repair plan that would eventually lead to the (bridge's) reopening." They said they expect details on the plan by the end of next week.
Officials closed the bridge's roadway and upriver sidewalk on April 17 after chunks of sandstone began falling from the bridge's north tower. The downriver sidewalk remained open to pedestrian traffic.
Covington City Manager David Johnston said he understands KYTC's predicament -- the cabinet owns the 152-year-old bridge -- but area businesses need answers soon.
"We understand that the Cabinet has been working very hard to deal with the unique situation with this old, historic bridge," Johnston said in the news release. "But we've been reminding them every chance we get that the closure poses a substantial negative impact on our local businesses, especially those in the Roebling Point District."
"For the people who would normally drive to get to work they’re no longer taking this route," said Richard Hunt, shortly after the bridge closed. Hunt owns Roebling Point Books and Coffee at the corner of Third and Greenup streets at the foot of the Roebling.
Hunt said he's seen a 20 percent drop in business since mid-April.
Transportation officials did not outline any details of the temporary, emergency repairs, nor did they announce a timeline for the bridge's reopening. KYTC officials are still reviewing bids from contractors to implement the fixes necessary to reopen the roadway and sidewalk.
The emergency repair work comes as a preview for an already-planned, $8 million repair project scheduled for the bridge in 2020.