The Purple People Bridge is a half-mile long bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting Newport, KY to Cincinnati, OH. The bridge opened on April 1, 1872, under the name Newport and Cincinnati Bridge, and was Cincinnati’s first railroad bridge spanning the Ohio River. Over the course of the next 35 years, the bridge would be retrofitted to accommodate streetcar, pedestrian and automobile traffic.
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.
The Purple People Bridge is an important bicycle and pedestrian connection between Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati trail networks. It serves as a hub for the many trails in the region connecting the Ohio River Trail, the Eire to Ohio Trail, the American Discovery Trail, Daniel Carter Beard Riverwalk and Riverfront Commons.Many area walks, runs and races, including the Flying Pig Marathon, cross the bridge. The bridge provides convenient access to the “Newport on the Levee” development in Newport, Kentucky, as well as Cincinnati’s riverfront parks.