Reopening the Purple People Bridge

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 by Caitlin Sparks

On November 19, amid lights and fanfare, a ribbon cutting and press conference celebrated the reopening of the Purple People Bridge after a six month closure. Cincinnati City Council member Meeka Owens and Newport Mayor Tom Guidugli Jr. described the bridge as a vital connection to the health and vitality of our region’s people–an asset that moves our cities to the forefront of active transit connectivity.

As the press corps thinned, the fences came down and folks streamed onto the bridge once again. In celebration, people on both banks walked and biked the Ohio River’s most welcoming connector, her trusses adorned with festive lights to welcome the holidays.

Damage to the bridge’s stone piers was discovered in May, causing state and local authorities to advise that it be closed, and sparking a debate about funding repairs–especially who should foot the bill. Tri-State Trails helped leverage a critical donation from The Devou Good Foundation that activated essential repairs and catalyzed conversations about access improvements for communities on both sides of the river.

The Purple People Bridge is an essential, vibrant connection for our river cities. Cars can’t crowd us, each approach is park-like, and Tri-State Trails is working with the Newport-Southbank Bridge Company and The Devou Good Foundation to make it even better! Targeted improvements include a bicycle-specific traffic signal and protected bike lanes for Newport, and improved accessibility and signals on the Ohio approach. These improvements will connect users safely and efficiently to the Southbank Canal Bikeway (Eggleston Path) and the Ohio River Trail, both pieces of the CROWN trail network.

Adaptive reuse and responsible stewardship of aging infrastructure can help us reimagine access. Our purple bridge is open to all–a peaceful space to find relief from traffic, a safe and speedy connection, and some of the region’s best views. Let’s reclaim more pathways for people!

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