Sunday, May 20, 2001

Pedestrian bridge a 'go'

Cincinnati catching up to Ky. in planning for L&N

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — The plan to refurbish the 130-year-old L&N Bridge as a pedestrian walkway between Newport on the Levee and Cincinnati's riverfront park area is about a year behind schedule, but it will become a reality.

        Cincinnati officials are running behind in planning how the walkway will be integrated into the riverfront area near Sawyer Point.

        Joe Vogel, acting principal transportation design engineer for Cincinnati, said the city only recently re-entered the planning process.

        “We're trying to come up with a coherent plan on our side to match the one Southbank (Partners) and Newport have developed,” Mr. Vogel said. “We wanted to look at what could be done at our end to accommodate people and make it a positive thing.”

        The Kentucky General Assembly earmarked $4 million last year to recondition the vehicle side of the two-part bridge. The other half was for railroad use and has been closed for 20 years.

        The vehicle side was recently closed to traffic.

        Kentucky official are working against a June 14 deadline for the work to begin in order to keep the state grant.

        Wally Pagan, president of Southbank Partners, the coalition of business and professional people working to promote development of the Northern Kentucky riverfront, said the necessary documents are being prepared by the state to transfer ownership of the bridge to Newport.

        Aesthetically, the portion of the bridge just off the Third Street ramp on the Kentucky side will be designed to complement the Newport on the Levee structure. Levee developer Steiner & Associates has definite plans on how it wants the Kentucky side to look to integrate it into the Levee project.

        Cincinnati City ManagerJohn Shirey said the city hasn't solidified its plans for the Ohio side of the bridge. The L&N Bridge is within the area designated as under the control of the newly created Port Authority that is overseeing the $250 million Banks project.

        There are two ramps from the bridge on the Cincinnati side, one to Pete Rose Way and the other to Third Street. Mr. Vogel said the city is considering removing the ramp to Third Street because it would serve no purpose for pedestrians. Similarly, the circular on-ramp from Pete Rose Way to the bridge will be eliminated and possibly converted to recreation space.


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