Sunday, April 01, 2001

Century-old bridge to be retired Monday

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Motorists and pedestrians crossing the Shortway Bridge across the Licking River between Covington and Newport Monday morning will mark the passing of an era.

        Following the usual rush hour traffic, state highway workers will close the century-old former toll bridge. It will never reopen, but instead will be demolished and replaced with a new bridge now under construction.

        “Probably sometime around 9 a.m., we'll close the bridge,” said Larry Trenkamp, construction manager for the state highway department's Northern Kentucky district.

        Workers put up closing and detour signs in Covington and Newport Friday to advise people who normally use the bridge that they will have to travel north to the Fourth Street Bridge to cross the Licking. “The next time anyone drives over the Licking River at that point, it will be on the new bridge.”

        “We're just doing detour signage to move people to the Fourth Street Bridge,” Mr. Trenkamp said. “We're not doing anything regarding using the interstates.”

        People needing to move to the southern extremes of Covington or Newport could use I-275 and I-471.

        He said the Shortway, or 12th Street, Bridge is considered primarily a local traffic mover.

        “We don't anticipate any major traffic problems while work is completed on the new bridge,” he said.

        The new bridge, slightly higher and with four lanes instead of two, is already substantially completed.

        “One of the main reasons for closing the old bridge now is to remove the portion on the Newport side, with the S-curve and wooden structure, because it falls directly in the alignment of the new bridge,” Mr. Trenkamp said.

        The new bridge, as yet unnamed, will open in the fall, probably in late September, according to Mr. Trenkamp.

        “The maximum time the contractor has for completion without penalty is 180 calendar days, starting from day of closure (April 2),” he said.

        “The main span of the old bridge across the river won't be removed immediately because there are utility lines that must be moved,” he said. “It will eventually be torn down after the new bridge is open.”

        The Shortway Bridge, which connects 12th Street in Covington with 11th Street in Newport, was built in the late 1880s. It was originally owned by the old Green Line Transit Company, and was taken over by the state in 1984.


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