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New Ways To See The Suspension Bridge Online, And Soon, In-Person

Bill Rinehart
One of the plaques on the Cincinnati side of the 154-year-old bridge.

The group that conducts tours of the Roebling Suspension Bridge couldn't do so last year because of the pandemic. The Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee plans to resume guided tours sometime, but for now, it's offering virtual experiences.

Committee member Dave Akers says plaques with QR codes are installed along the walkway, linking to videos with information about the bridge.

"We tried to keep the videos with narration short, two to three minutes. We know you're standing there looking at your phone; you don't want to stand there all day," Akers says. "This is our first attempt. We may add to it in the future. We don't know."

The plaques are on the east side of the bridge. When the west side of the bridge reopens to pedestrians, they'll install plaques there, too.

"We'll probably add some more content if we make changes, more information. People will see the three videos and they may want more. Or they'll get bored with it. Maybe we need to change it to keep people interested," he says.

At some point, the committee will bring back guided in-person tours. Akers says the committee is currently focused on updating the bridge lighting. While Kentucky pays the electric bill, the committee takes care of the lighting.

"Everybody always asks us 'Why aren't you going to LED lights?' Well, the answer is: we are. It took some time to select the new bulb that had the right color temperature so it had the right look. We had to re-engineer our fixtures a little bit. It won't be done until next year."

Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
The Roebling's 76 necklace lights will be upgraded to LEDs.

Akers says the light replacement project won't force another bridge closure. The Roebling is currently undergoing rehabilitation and is closed to vehicular traffic. That work is expected to end in November and is paid for through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The plaques and lighting project are funded by the Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.