KYTC holds US 51 Ohio River Bridge meeting in Cairo - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

KYTC holds US 51 Ohio River Bridge meeting in Cairo

(Source: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet) (Source: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)

About 80 citizens from Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri attended a public meeting tonight to provide input for a study on the US 51 Ohio River Bridge between Wickliffe, Ky., and Cairo, Ill.

"I've lived in Cairo for over 30 years. And naturally I want to see the alternative main route go as close to Cairo as possible," said Effie Harrell. "Because we've had it for so many years, it's just a landmark for us."

The long-range study is to determine how to best assure the viability of the US 51 crossing that also carries East US 60 and East US 62 across the Ohio River. A second meeting will be held Tuesday night in LaCenter, KY. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is looking at about a half-dozen alternatives that range from a rehabilitation of the existing bridge to construction of new bridge. The existing bridge was constructed in the 1930's. About 5,400 vehicles cross the Cairo Bridge in an average day. About 35 percent of those vehicles are commercial trucks.

Transportation officials emphasize that no construction activities are planned at this time. This study is to provide direction for future planning and engineering work required that might eventually lead to construction of a new crossing at or near the existing bridge site.

"The meeting is to try to get some feed back from the public in the regards to what they see as the primary problems with the bridge," said Michael McGregor Project Manager Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "And then we also want to hear their thoughts on potential solutions or potential areas that we should either focus on or stay away from as we develop the project."

The bridge was constructed by the Cairo Bridge Commission and opened to traffic as toll facility on November 11, 1936. The tolls were removed 12 years later when highway agencies in Kentucky and Illinois took over maintenance of the bridge.

The bridge has a sufficiency rating of 33.9 out of 100, making it eligible for Federal bridge replacement or rehabilitation funds.

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