The Cairo Bridge carries US 51, US 60 and US 62 over the Ohio River between Cairo, Illinois and Wickliffe, Kentucky.
The cantilevered Warren through truss was designed by Modjeski & Masters of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and constructed by the Mt. Vernon Bridge Company of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.1 The two-lane crossing was constructed between 1936 and 1938 2 and was last rehabilitated in 1979.
In 2014, a planning study to replace or rehabilitate the Cairo Bridge was completed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).2 The study concluded that the bridge was rated both functionally obsolete because of its substandard geometric features and structurally deficient because the original design load for the bridge is less than the current design standards. A 2012 inspection and a 2013 load rating analysis gave the bridge a sufficiency rating of 39.8 on a 100-point scale. Additionally, the bridge was not designed for seismic events, and preliminary estimates indicated that the bridge could collapse in an earthquake.
The bridge, under a no-build alternative, could close to truck traffic in 2025 and to all traffic by 2030.2
The planning study recommended Combined Alternate 2 to advance for further study.2 Combined Alternate 2 is approximately 1.8 miles in length and features a horizontal clearance of 900 feet for the navigational channel and at least 113 feet of vertical clearance. Because of its length, the bridge cost estimate is between $180 million and $210 million. The new bridge’s proposed alignment is adjacent to the existing structure.