Purple People Bridge reopens after 6-month closure
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Both sides of the Purple People Bridge are now open after more than six months.
In May, a piece of the stone pier on the Ohio side of the bridge fell into the Ohio River. The Kentucky side of the bridge opened in July.
A steel beam now stretches across that pier to serve as a temporary fix that has allowed the bridge to reopen just in time for the holidays.
“Our goal was to have it reopen towards the end of October, but certainly by Thanksgiving,” explains Newport Southbank Bridge Company President Will Weber. “So, just one more thing to be thankful for. And working really in tandem with the folks at Newport on the Levee as they light up the levee, and we light up the Purple People Bridge, is very exciting and quite an opportunity to do so.”
The cost for the temporary repairs was $350,000.
Permanent repairs will likely happen in the spring.
The Devou Good Foundation donated $150,000 and were the first people to donate money to get the bridge reopened. Other funding came from John and Sue Topits Foundation, RC Durr Foundation, Newport Foundation, and the Newport Southbank Bridge Company.
When it’s open, an average of 1,500 people crosses the bridge daily.
For six months now, those people have been forced to find a different route from Newport to Cincinnati.
“What we see all over the region is more and more people want to be active, want to be out walking and biking and running,” explains Director of Tri-State Trails Wade Johnston, “And when we build trails and communities, they attract all types of visitors, and the bridge is such a perfect example.”
Part of the funding for the repairs is earmarked to include safer intersections on either end of the bridge for walkers and bikers to get where they are going.
“The bridge is a critical connector, and it’s part of a network,” explains Johnston, “And we want to make that network stronger so that folks have that option and feel safe making that choice to ride their bike or walk and live an active lifestyle in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.”
Weber says the reopening would not be possible without the collaboration of the two cities, the donors, and many others that helped make this day possible.
“It’s such a community-oriented project that really identifies the people in the Purple People Bridge,” Weber adds. “It takes a village and all working together to make this happen, and it’s just incredible.”
The bridge opening coincides with the Winter Nights River Lights beginning on the bridge and at Newport on the Levee Friday.
The Newport Southbank Bridge Company plans to repaint the bridge purple as soon as next year. The cost for that is more than $1 million.
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