Newport Southbank Bridge
|Newport Southbank Bridge|
The Purple People Bridge as viewed from the Carew Tower observation deck
|Other name(s)||Purple People Bridge|
|Locale||Newport, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Total length||813.82 meters (2,670 feet)|
|Opened||April 1, 1872|
The original bridge first opened on April 1, 1872, under the name Newport and Cincinnati Bridge, and was Cincinnati's first railroad bridge spanning the Ohio River. The present bridge opened in 1896 to streetcar, pedestrian and automobile traffic.
In 1904, the bridge was renamed the L&N (Louisville and Nashville) Railroad Bridge, and this name remained until the bridge was rehabilitated and re-opened as a pedestrian-only bridge in May 2003.
The bridge was closed to railroad traffic in 1987, and later closed to automobile traffic in October 2001 after years of neglect and deterioration.
On April 17, 2001, the L&N Railroad Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In late 2001, the city of Newport, Kentucky, and Southbank Partners, an economic development group, used $4 million in state funds to restore the bridge. When it was time to decide on what color to paint it, a variety of options were explored. Computer-generated images of the bridge were shown to participants in more than a dozen focus groups, all of whom picked the color purple as a top choice. It was soon coined the "Purple People Bridge" by area residents.
In 2006, it became possible for the public to cross the bridge via its superstructure wearing appropriate safety gear. There are similar bridge climb experiences in Australia and New Zealand. Citing lack of funds and low attendance, the Purple People Bridge Climb closed on May 23, 2007.
The bridge remains open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
- Sonnenberg, Elissa (2006). "Purple People Greeter". Cincinnati Magazine. Cincinnati USA: 2006 City Guide. p. 14. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- Official website
- Early bridge photograph circa 1910 from the Cincinnati Memory project
- Louisville & Nashville RR Bridge at Cincinnati Transit
- Meet the Purple People Bridge at the Cincinnati Enquirer
- Newport Southbank Bridge at Bridges & Tunnels
- Purple People Bridge at Nikibone
- L&N Cincinnati-Newport Railroad Bridge at BridgeHunter