Campaign short on funds to light Roebling Bridge - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Campaign short on funds to light Roebling Bridge

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Millions cross underneath it's tightly-wound cables every day and it's just about finished getting a new paint job.

But in the minds of many there is still one key element missing on the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

There is a plan to re-light the historic span, and that involves stringing a gigantic "necklace of lights" all around the edges of the bridge.

And the cost of all this? Like the bridge, that too is super-sized.

The graceful cables stretch to the sky and have welcomed travelers between Kentucky and Ohio since it opened to traffic on New Years Day, 1867.

"$450,000 is what we're trying to raise," said Robert Armstrong, President of the Covington Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee.

That is what's needed to re-light the bridge and replace it's first lighting system, which was put on back in 1984.

"They look like a necklace," Armstrong said stretching his arms out imitating the wingspan of the bridge. "Like an old pearl necklace."

Around $350,000 is still needed to buy a brand new "necklace".

"Which are the lights that follow the cables," Armstrong said. "And then the pier lights, which is the second part."

The new lights are LED-based green technology and all of the old hardware has already been removed.

"They had to take all the lights off the bridge to paint it," he said.

The painting is well-ahead of it's scheduled November 31 deadline.

"They are talking now about being substantially complete by October 15 and they're talking about certain sections of the bridge being completed maybe before that," Armstrong said.

So the pressure is on. And another hundred thousand is needed for a perpetual maintenance fund.

"A lot of people don't realize that the lights on the bridge and the flags that fly on the suspension bridge, are all provided by the Covington Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee," he said.

The money is raised by folks, who have wanted to preserve the beautiful landmark, for the last 25 years.

"About every six weeks to 2 months we have a blood lead level check," said Daniel Smallwood with Vimas Contracting, the painting contractor hired to beautify the bridge.

The bridge was covered in lead paint and was a massive and dangerous undertaking for workers on the ground and up in the towers.

"They gotta be pretty skinny guys cuz' there's no clearance in there," Smallwood said. "Not for the faint of heart up there, no, or the chubby guys like me," he laughed.

The Roebling Bridge is also known as the "singing bridge", because of the unique sound your tires make when they roll across the metal grid.

"It makes a singing, whining sound that you don't get on a paved bridge," Armstrong said. "So it's very unique in so many ways."

The committee has until November 4 to raise the rest of the money needed. If you'd like to help, just click on the link below and follow the directions. And you too can be a part of preserving this national treasure, right here at home.  

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