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Cairo Bridge Repairs Delayed

A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has asked to delay the start of repairs on the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge between Wickliffe, Ky. and Cairo, Ill. until after July 7.

During the repairs, the bridge will have a 7-foot maximum load width, which means an 80-mile detour for commercial drivers.

In a press release, KYTC spokesman Keith Todd said the agency wants truckers and suppliers who depend on the 76-year-old river crossing to be fully prepared for the coming project, which will last about two months.

Todd said the contractor will provide about a one week notice of a specific start date for the restrictions, but July 7 would be the earliest work could start.

Also known as the Cairo Bridge, the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge carries U.S. 60 and U.S. 62 between Kentucky and Illinois.  It immediately connects with the U.S. 60/U.S. 62 Mississippi River Bridge which carries traffic between Illinois and Missouri.  Commercial trucks make up about 35 percent of the 5,500 vehicles that cross the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge each day, making it a key transportation link between Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

Last month, Kentucky and Illinois transportation officials conducted public meetings to discuss options to improve or replace the bridge.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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