The Brent Spence Bridge is being replaced and is considered obsolete. It's only 50 years old. But the original route across the Ohio Fiver is 195-year's old this year and still getting the job done.
The Anderson Ferry is a throwback to a simpler time but it's still a vital link between Ohio and Kentucky. And as Local 12 News Reporter Joe Webb shows us, it's a piece of history that is So Cincinnati.
Since 1817, the constant in Constance, Kentucky has been the Anderson Ferry. All day, every day but Christmas the ferry goes from Kentucky to Ohio and back with a load of cars and drivers. "We do around 100 trips a day. Probably more than that when we run two boats in the morning and evening and I guess we average about 500 cars a day thereabouts."
Paul isn't sure if he's related to George Anderson who started the ferry 195-years ago. But he knows he's related to the namesake of his push boat "The Deborah A". That is Mrs. Anderson. "That's the only way she'd let my buy it is I told her I'd name it after her."
Paul started working the ferry as a schoolboy in 1961 and bought the business in 1986. He now operated 3 boats including Boone #7, the first steel ferry built in 1937. He says the work hasn't changed much...can be a little monotonous...but for the casual observer it's kind of fun.
The push boat swings out on a pivot on each return trip so the pilot house is facing the right direction. Then it plays the current, slides into place and customers drive away in a different state....a much different state than expressway traffic. "It's a little more relaxing for most people."
The trip costs five dollars a car one way, seven dollars for a round trip, and 50 cents if you're on foot. There are seven perfectly good bridges on or inside the I-275 loop drivers can take to cross the Ohio. So why take the ferry? For many, it saves time and is the shortest route...especially to the airport. For others it offers a break-a chance to read the paper, hang out with the dog or have a cold drink while someone else drives.
Tom Sarakatsannis grew up on the West side but now lives in New York. he was headed to the airport. "It's civilized. It's a good price and it's beautiful. You get to sit outside and look around. It's the way travel should be."
Sarah Spradlin and a friend just took a round trip..because as she put it, the Anderson Ferry is So Cincinnati. "It's the Ohio River. It's the culture and it's the culture untouched by corporate structures and those type things. It's getting back to your roots and what you've known."
And after nearly 200 years it's still going nowhere...but getting people where they need to go.
On the Ohio River, Paul Anderson says the ferry is at the same location where it has operated since 1817. He says the founders put it there because it's a natural crossing. Anderson says buffalo crossed there in the summer when the water was low.