Purple People Bridge closed while engineers evaluate damage after sandstone falls from it on Cinci side

Staff report

A piece of sandstone fell Sunday afternoon from a pier on the Cincinnati side of the Purple People Bridge, causing closure of the bridge to determine extent of the damage.

No injuries have been reported.

The engineering firm, WSP, was inspecting the bridge on Monday, aiming to evaluate the damage and to determine the scope and cost of the repairs.

“Any capital repairs of this nature will require support from the broader public, private, and philanthropic community including both the cities of Cincinnati and Newport,” said a statement released by the Purple People Bridge Company, which owns and manages the iconic bridge. “WSP in the U.S. is uniquely suited to evaluate the current status of the bridge and oversee any repairs.”

The firm worked with the Bridge Company, which handled a similar situation in 2021, when a stone also fell from an adjacent pier. 

“We are keenly aware that the bridge is especially popular this time of year with people using it for daily transportation to and from work, events, walking, running and biking. We are working diligently to open the bridge as soon as possible, and safety is our top priority,” the statement said. 

The evaluation is ongoing and there is no estimate for how long it will be closed.

“We may get to the point where the bridge is partially reopened before the final repairs are made,” said the statement. “But those decisions are yet to be made and we ask for the public’s patience while the bridge is being evaluated and ultimately repaired.”

The Purple People Bridge connects the communities of Newport and Cincinnati, and is a popular safe and well-maintained regional attraction that serves as a historic landmark, people connector, recreational trail, event space, and an iconic community asset that improves economic development and quality of life on both sides of the Ohio River.

Since 2001, the Purple People Bridge Company have owned and operated the “Purple People Bridge” – a pedestrian-only bridge that stretches 2,670 feet (.5 mile) across the Ohio River.

Today the bridge is the longest connector of its kind in the country and has linked Kentucky and Ohio together since 1872.

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