Contest winners for the region’s most photogenic bridge

The 230-feet high towers of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge provide a commanding view of the Ohio River and the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky riverfronts, but they aren’t accessible to the public. But five photographers got a chance to scale to the top of the south tower, take a rare look around, and snap some pictures. They were the winners of the annual Roebling Bridge photo contest, and their prize was a rare opportunity to take in a view that only few have seen.

The annual contest is an initiative of the Covington Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee. The committee is a nonprofit organization founded in 1976 with a dual mission: To support and enhance the Roebling Bridge, and to promote public awareness of the Bridge’s historical and engineering significance. The committee members are also solely responsible for the flags flying on the towers and all the decorative lighting on the landmark.

The contest offers several categories with separate entries for amateur and professional photographers. The 2022 contest’s categories were: Daytime images of the bridge; nighttime images, and short videos. The winners are selected by a vote of the public.

“We received a record number of submissions this year, as well as a record number of community members voting on them,” says contest committee chair Ivet Valencia.

The 2022 winners are:
  • Daytime image, amateur: Corrie Carswell
  • Daytime image, professional: Tony Wagner
  • Nighttime image, amateur: Jon Cecil
  • Nighttime image, professional: Tony Wagner
  • Short video, amateur: Ruth Ann Palmer
  • Short video, professional: Zak Kauth

Each winning photographer received a large format print of their photograph, as well as the trip up the south tower, which is reached by climbing the metal staircase attached to the exterior of the stone structure.

The winning photos and videos can be seen on the committee’s website.

Designed by civil engineer John Roebling, who also designed the Brooklyn Bridge, the bridge officially opened to traffic 155 years ago, on Jan. 1, 1867. At the time, its 1,075-foot span made it the longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge employed new bridge-building techniques. Its two primary cables each contain 5,180 individual wires that were spun using wire imported from England. A second set of cables was added in 1897 to support heavier loads.

The Roebling remains a major thoroughfare for pedestrians and vehicles, carrying more than 8,000 vehicles a day across the Ohio. Its age demands maintenance, and the bridge was closed for more than a year for structural work. It re-opened to vehicles in April.
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David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.