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Roebling Suspension Bridge, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Roebling Suspension Bridge crosses the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, connecting the city to Covington, Kentucky, on the south side of the river. Constructed in 1867, the bridge is one of the most historically important bridges in the United States. Of the bridges designed by prominent early bridge engineer John Roebling in the middle of the nineteenth century, only three remain. One of those, the Delaware Aqueduct, was not designed as a traffic bridge, and only carries traffic today after numerous modifications and reconstructions over the past 170 years. The other two remaining Roebling bridges are the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge and this bridge in Cincinnati.

The complex cable system and stone towers are pleasant to look at, both from a distance and up close during your walk. The cables and girders of the truss are all painted marine blue. The towers are constructed of fine-grained, light-colored sandstone that has darkened with age. Each tower is a single, round-topped stone archway flanked by massive stone sides. The archway is about 25 feet high, and the total tower height is about 40 feet above the deck. The towers are nicely decorated using textured stonework and architectural elements. The sides of each tower are slightly tapered from bottom to top. The stonework on the sides of the towers is smooth, while that of the archway and above the archway is textured to make the individual blocks stand out. The top of each tower is flat, surrounded by a stone parapet, and then topped with two octagonal stone cupolas. The cupolas, in turn, are topped by a gilded orb and cross.

In my book, Bridgespotting Part 2: A Guide to Even More Bridges that Connect People, Places, and Times, I wrote a detailed description of the complex cabling system used on the bridge.

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