The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said in a release on Friday that the Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge will close at 6 p.m. as floodwaters approach the levee.
They said the bridge is expected to be closed for a week but could be extended if the flood crest is revised upward.
Floodwaters have reached the white line at the edge of the pavement on a transportation artery between Kentucky and Illinois.
The levee that carries U.S. 51, U.S. 60 and U.S. 62 to the Ohio River "Cairo" Bridge between Wickliffe, Kentucky, and Cairo, Illinois, has been threatened by floodwaters closing in.
The forecast predicts water to be on the roadway late Thursday evening or Friday. Based on this, U.S. 51 would close and remain closed for a week. The closure would create a detour over 80 miles between Wickliffe and Cairo via Interstate 24 and Interstate 57 through Southern Illinois.
U.S. 51 is also threatened by floodwaters south of Wickliffe at the Ballard-Carlisle County line near the paper mill. U.S. 51 will remain open south of Wickliffe, but river levels at that location will be monitored closely by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Over 4,000 vehicles cross the bridge on an average day. The Ohio River Bridge is an important commerce corridor for Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri. The bridge was constructed by the Cairo Bridge Commission as a toll facility and opened to traffic on Nov. 11, 1936.
Motorists are advised to check the KY Highway Water Over Road Report for KYTC District 1 at www.facebook.com/kytcdistrict1.