CINCINNATI — Crews are setting up scaffolding and temporary netting along the 152-year-old Roebling Bridge to catch loose chunks of sandstone and make the span safer.
The bridge will remain closed to foot traffic from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday, then will reopen to normal foot traffic after that. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) officials said they plan to reopen the bridge to vehicle traffic by late July.
Crews working on the bridge said they saw people crossing despite signs saying it was closed.
Nancy Wood, a public information officer for the KYTC, said the temporary netting will cost $78,000. She also said crews would come back occasionally to clear out any stone in danger of falling.
Wood said some of the stones that have fallen onto the walkways could cause injuries, but the new netting will be “very safe.”
A permanent restoration project is set to begin in the spring of 2020.
Workers at nearby businesses said the closure of the bridge has had a serious impact on their livelihood.
“I know for us and the coffee shop next to us… we’ve definitely noticed a slowdown in especially weekday business," said Julia Keister, who owns Lil’s Bagels on Greenup Street in Covington.
Keister said she’s experienced about a 20% decrease in business from the bridge closure. She said much of her revenue came from commuters crossing the bridge near Lil's and being able to easily access Covington.
Andrew Gallo, the general manager of Smoke Justis, echoed Keister’s sentiment.
“We’re excited for it to open back up to see if we get more of the foot traffic or people parking over here for Reds games,” he said. “It’s a pretty heavy thoroughfare for folks who work.”
Gallo also said it has affected Snoke Justis workers who live over the river.
“It actually has affected some people's commutes here because they’re having to get on 75,” he said. “(They have to) cross over the Brent Spence, which is a nightmare.”