Businesses concerned about impending Roebling Bridge closure: ‘It’s going to be really hard’

The bridge will be closed from February until November.

Local businesses concerned about impending Roebling Bridge closure

KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Some Covington businesses are frustrated over news from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet that the John A. Roebling Bridge, one of the region’s architectural icons, needs a nine-month closure.

A partial closure will begin Feb. 1, and the full closure will take effect Feb. 15.

Crews will embark on an overdue $4.7 million restoration project that will run until the end of 2021, though the bridge is expected to reopen in November.

“This is now a third impact they’re going to have to endure,” Covington City Manager David Johnston said of the city’s small businesses, referencing the pandemic and the closure of the Brent Spence Bridge in late 2020.

Richard Hurt owns Roebling Point Books and Coffee.

“Almost the last year to date has been a struggle,” Hurt said, adding business has been down between 25 and 75 percent each month. “It was a kick. It’s news that was not unexpected, but it’s not welcome either. It’s going to be really hard.”

John Coffee is manager at The Gruff.

“We get tremendous support from the local community both here in Covington and across the bridge in Cincinnati,” he said.

Coffey worries about the closure but says the restaurant and bar is staying optimistic for warmer weather and more foot traffic.

“The pedestrian portion of the bridge is going to be open the entire time that the bridge is under construction or renovated or whatever they do,” he said.

The businesses are encouraging people to go a little out of their way to help.

“We really hope people continue to support local business, because that’s kinda what this neighborhood is all about, and I’d like to think what Cincinnati’s about,” Hurt said.

The Roebling Bridge carries approximately 8,100 vehicles a day.

The KYTC is urging motorists to use the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge (US 25) or the 4th Street/Veterans Bridge (KY 8) to the Taylor Southgate Bridge (US 27) as a detour.

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