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Purple People Bridge Remains Closed, Study Determines Repairs Needed

Purple People Bridge
Bill Rinehart

The Newport Southbank Bridge Company says the Purple People Bridge will remain closed while it decides how to move forward with recommended repairs. An engineering firm reports repairs are needed on Pier 1, the northernmost pier of the bridge.

According to a statement, WSP USA Inc. finds Pier 1 "has deteriorated to the point where repairs are needed for that portion of the bridge to reopen to pedestrians. The structural condition of Pier 1 does not impact the rest of the bridge."

The bridge closed in mid-May after a large stone reportedly fell out of the first pier into the Ohio River on May 11.

The firm is recommending a survey of the bridge deck be done for the entire structure.

The bridge company reports it will review the recommendations with Newport and Cincinnati officials "before determining how to best move forward with repairing and reopening the bridge."

This is not the first time engineers have had to inspect the Purple People Bridge. Bricks fell off it in 2018 as WVXU reported.

At the time there was some discussion as to who was responsible - Southbank Partners (which owns the bridge) or the city of Cincinnati.

An engineering study in 2014 said the bridge was structurally sound and would likely be around another 100 years.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.