Friday, October 12, 2001

Bridge closed; to be adapted for pedestrians

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — The L&N Bridge between Newport and Cincinnati was officially closed Thursday, and when it reopens in about a year it will be a pedestrian-only bridge that officials hope will be a catalyst linking entertainment venues on both sides of the river.

        Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken and Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton tied a ceremonial knot in a large yellow ribbon to mark the closing on the Cincinnati side, and the governor performed a similar function on the Kentucky side with Newport Mayor Tom Guidugli.

[photo] The L&N Bridge between Newport and Cincinnati.
(Enquirer file photo)
| ZOOM |
        Some 300 people, including a number of local politicians and business leaders, walked across the bridge from Cincinnati to Newport for both ribbon ceremonies. Although Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey made the trek from Cincinnati, Mayor Luken returned to city hall.

        Southbank Partners, a non-profit organization that promotes development and growth along the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, and the city of Newport will use $4 million in state funds to make any needed repairs in the bridge, rebuild the roadway to a pedestrian walk, install new lighting and paint the bridge's rusty steel beams.

        Mr. Shirey praised Southbank and Newport for “sticking to it, to be able to salvage this bridge and make this a reality for all of us.”

        “Maybe we'll get some of the spillover from the success of Newport on the Levee,” Mr. Shirey said of the entertainment complex that recently opened alongside the L&N Bridge. “This represents a partnership, a linkage. We should do more things like this and not appear to be in competition on the two sides of the river.”

        Gov. Patton emphasized that “it was this community that made this happen. It was the efforts of many civic and business leaders working together.”

        He said the L&N Bridge project can be one more way to enlarge the continuing development in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati community.

        “We have bridges that link the two sides of the river commercially,” he said. “But thanks to the union of the people of this community, this bridge will unite people on a much more personal basis. This bridge is well over 100 years old, and it will have another 100 years of uniting the two sides.”

        When the bridge is reopened next year, officials hope to be able to use it for a variety of events that will attract people from both sides of the river. In Chattanooga, a wine tasting to benefit a charity this summer drew some 20,000 people to the Walnut Street Bridge.

        To conclude the ceremonies, the governor and other dignitaries were invited to apply a few brush strokes of paint to a one of the bridge girders. The paint was a bright purple which Mr. Pagan and others hinted was the desired color for the bridge when it is repainted. He called it “Patton Purple.'


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