Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Bridge lovers: Say bye to blue

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The Roebling Suspension Bridge will receive a new coat of paint sometime in the next two years, but for all those folks who like its blue color, the word from Kentucky highway officials is get over it, because the new color will be tan.

An electronically altered photograph of the Roebling Suspension Bridge shows what it might look like in tan instead of blue.
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        Rob Hans, bridge engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's District Six highway department in Fort Mitchell, said Monday that the state hopes to repaint the famous bridge, which was completed in 1867, as the culmination of an eight-year rehabilitation project that has been ongoing for the past eight years.

        “Structurally, the bridge is in good condition, due mostly to about $10 million in recondition and reconstruction work,” Mr. Hans said. “We want to finish that work with a good paint job.”

        But it won't be blue, the color applied to the bridge when it was last painted in 1980 to replace a dull green. Mr. Hans said an inspection of some of bridge designer John Roebling's journals showed that the original color of the bridge — the model for Mr. Roebling's Brooklyn Bridge — was Spanish brown. “From what we can determine of his description of the elements in the paint, it was a rather dark brown,” Mr. Hans said.

        He said there was some opposition to dark brown, especially from the Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee, which thought the shade might be drab or mistaken for black paint.

        After discussions in 1997-1998, the decision was made that the color should be a light tan or sandstone, much like the paint on the ironwork of the stairs leading to the bridge walkway.

        The paint job,which will be paid for with state highway funds, is expected to cost about $6 million.


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