27 votes

Roebling Suspension Bridge


Daytime view

Photo taken by Jonathan Maxwell

BH Photo #108291

Street Views 


The Roebling Suspension Bridge

This is a video we recently produced for our video database "History In Your Own Backyard". Thought you guys might like to see this.


Play video on YouTube


Suspension bridge over the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, and Kenton County, Kentucky
Rehabilitation Completed
Built 1866 by John A. Roebling. Rehabilitated 1955.
- John A. Roebling
Wire suspension
Length of largest span: 1,056.8 ft.
Total length: 2,161.5 ft. (0.4 mi.)
Deck width: 24.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1975
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.09231, -84.50947   (decimal degrees)
39°05'32" N, 84°30'34" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/715392/4329972 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 75000786 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
KY 059-B00048N (Kentucky bridge number)
ODOT 3101584 (Ohio Dept. of Transportation structure file number)
BH 27620 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 10, 2022: New photos from Bambi Sharkoman
  • January 18, 2022: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • January 18, 2022: New photos from Paul Plassman
  • August 12, 2021: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • June 24, 2018: New photo from Mike Daffron
  • April 27, 2018: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • September 30, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • September 29, 2016: New video from Satolli Glassmeyer
  • August 10, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added categories "Pin-connected", "Riveted"
  • June 25, 2016: New photos from John Loxton
  • January 3, 2016: New photo from Gene Smania
  • December 6, 2015: New photo from Mike Mullins
  • December 5, 2015: New photo from Mike Mullins
  • July 10, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
  • July 9, 2014: New photo from Andrew Raker
  • July 28, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: Merged NBI Data
  • July 28, 2011: Updated by James McCray: updated status of bridge
  • March 11, 2011: New photos from J.P.
  • June 21, 2010: New photos from Anthony Dillon
  • April 14, 2010: Updated by J.P.: bridge under construction
  • March 13, 2010: Updated by Bill Eichelberger: Added Google Street View.
  • May 17, 2009: Posted HAER photos
  • October 17, 2005: Posted additional photo from Jonathan Maxwell



Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted November 14, 2020, by Tom Hoffman

Apparently no significant damage has been spotted, and the bridge has reopened but Covington Police will keep a close eye to strictly enforce the weight limit.

Driving a heavy commercial truck takes tons of common sense. Being caught in sudden road closures is part of the job. First thing to come to my mind would be"Can I take my vehicle across alternate crossings?" If I found Clay Wade Bailey bridge too crowded, I would find my way to KY 1120 Licking River bridge, then try to cross Taylor Southgate or the Big Mac. 4th Street(KY 8) bridge also has weight restrictions.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted November 13, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I know Art... I've seen just about every imaginable thing in 40+ years of historic bridges.

...But they're still idiots! ;-p

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted November 13, 2020, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Tony, Tony, Tony,

That's nothing. Think about fully loaded grain trucks getting a running start to cross a 12 ton truss bridge so as to try to get across as quick as possible 'just in case' when a modern bridge is a mile away.

Stupidity kills... but not fast enough.


Art S.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted November 13, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Wow... what idiots!

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted November 13, 2020, by Tom Hoffman

Thanks to the Brent Spence closure, Roebling Suspension Bridge has also been closed after tractor trailers were spotted crossing to detour ignoring the 11ton weight limit.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted April 16, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)
Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted March 22, 2018, by Tom Hoffman

The bridge has been closed due to an accident on Tuesday night. Apparently a vehicle lost control hitting one of the vertical posts. The radio report said the bridge should be closed until further notice and repairs can be made.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted December 20, 2013, by Don Sayenga (Dsayenga [at] gmail [dot] com)

The various Ohio River comments perhaps ought to be clarified. Kentucky DOT has maintained the bridge because the Ohio River west of the north extension of the Mason Dixon Line had been claimed by Virginia. When Congress created new states such as Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky the border claims of Virginia were retained by Kentucky. When the Corps of Engineers converted the Ohio River into a slackwater canal, they raised the water level in the pool stage, thereby submerging the boundary. The north side span of this bridge crosses over that boundary, but the rest of the bridge, including both towers, is in Kentucky.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted January 18, 2013, by J.P. (wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Bridge was recently closed due to a 12 inch piece of sandstone falling from north tower. The bridge has been reopened. The damage was superficial.


Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted October 21, 2012, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

The state border was set at the rivers north bank long ago. Since it was set the river has wandered. The border stays where it was before the river moved. Some places the the river moved south and in those places both banks of the river are Kentucky, such as at Evansville. Other places the river moved north and in those places the border is in the river. Cincinnati is one of these places where part of the river is in Ohio.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted October 20, 2012, by Jonathan Maxwell (maxweljc [at] mail [dot] uc [dot] edu)

Actually, the Roebling Suspension Bridge does fall within the boundaries of Hamilton County, Ohio--albeit very partially. It is true that MOST of the Ohio River is within Kentucky, but not ALL. The northernmost 10% or so of the river is indeed part of Ohio; any map on the internet like Google, Mapquest, etc. will illustrate this.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted June 1, 2011, by Don Sayenga (Dsayenga [at] gmail [dot] com)

You have listed this bridge in Hamilton County Ohio but it is actually in Kenton County, Kentucky except for a portion of the north approach. Most people don't realize that the Ohio River is not in Ohio. Another thing you ought to correct or modify is the name of the builder. In 1894 the owners of the bridge (it was then a private toll bridge) made a contract with William Hildenbrand to replace and upgrade the bridge. His plan was to retain the original towers and cables, remove the old Roebling deck from end to end, replace it with a new, wider, metal deck, and add new steel cables to carry the weight of the heavier deck. He achieved this without stopping traffic! The main portion of Hildenbrand's work was completed in September 1898. The best reference source for a description of this incredible rebuild is:

Gastright, Joseph F. "Wilhelm Hildenbrand & Reconstruction of the Roebling Bridge" Northern Kentucky Heritage, Vol VIII Number 1 Pages 1-15 Fall/Winter 2000.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted March 15, 2011, by Bill Eichelberger (wallyum [at] hotmail [dot] com)
Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted April 19, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Don, you point to an interesting thing about suspension bridges. Suspension bridges for some reason have a history of overbuilt towers and under-built cables and trusses. The Waco Suspension Bridge is Texas is usually cited as an 1870 bridge although all the trusses and cables are 1914: http://www.historicbridges.org/texas/waco/index.php

I comment on that page that the bridge is in reality best thought of as an 1914 bridge. One could make a similar argument for Roebling Bridge.

John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted April 19, 2010, by Don Sayenga (Dsayenga [at] gmail [dot] com)

The bridge in the photo was designed and built by William Hildenbrand 1895-1899. Although the crossing currently is named for John A Roebling, he was the designer and builder of the original structure which was deficient for several reasons. It was removed by Hildenbrand without interrupting travel - a spectacular effort! In the rebuild the original wrought iron wire cables and the original stone towers were allowed to remain in place and these were used to raise the new bridge structures into place. New steel cables were added in 1897 (in the middle of the project) to support the added weight of the metal trusswork.

The best reference source is:

"Wilhelm Hildenbrand and the 1895 Reconstruction of the Roebling Suspension Bridge" by Dr. Joseph F. Gastright in Northern Kentucky Heritage, Vol VII No 1 pages 1-14

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted April 14, 2010, by Bill Eichelberger (wallyum [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It's being repainted at the moment.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted April 13, 2010, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

According to "The Kentucky River" by William B. Ellis on page 91 the original wrought iron cables of this bridge were replaced by new steel cables in 1896.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted May 18, 2009, by Gene McCluney (mccluney [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

Is the metal truss structure, within the suspension bridge a retrofit, added later than the original construction of the bridge??

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted September 13, 2007, by Julia Jones (jljones30 [at] cinci [dot] rr [dot] com)

They've just recently lowered the weight limit from 22 tons, to 11 tons, citing structural concerns for very heavy trucks.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted February 16, 2007, by Thor

I thought this was a cool photo from the top of the Carew Tower in Cincinnati.

Roebling Suspension Bridge
Posted August 22, 2006, by Jim Corcoran (jimcoriii [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I walked across this bridge as a child in the early 60's with my Aunt Jean. It was still a toll bridge then. IIRC .05 for pedestrians.

Years later when attending UC and working as an auto mechanic in downtown Cincinnati I'd gladly ride my motorcycle to KY Motors in Covington for repair parts late at night after the all the other parts houses closed for the chance to ride this bridge. The steel deck made the bike dance like a dervish. After you were used to it it wasn't dangerous it was fun!