The Cairo Bridge carries US Routes 51, 60, and 62 over the Ohio River between Cairo, Illinois, and Wickliffe, Kentucky.
The Cairo Bridge, a 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 between 1936-38. 2 The crossing was extensively rehabilitated in 1979.
A study to determine whether the Cairo Bridge should be rehabilitated or replaced was completed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) in 2014. 2 It concluded that the crossing should be replaced as it functionally obsolete because of its substandard geometric features and 10-foot lanes, structurally deficient because the original design load for the bridge was less than the current design standards and likely to collapse in an earthquake as it was within the New Madrid Seismic Zone. An inspection in 2012 and a load rating analysis in 2013 gave the bridge a sufficiency rating of 39.8 on a 100-point scale.
The Cairo Bridge, without any structural improvements, could close to truck traffic in 2025 and to all traffic by 2030. 2
The study recommended a new 1.8-mile bridge that would feature a 900-foot horizontal clearance over the navigational channel and a 113-foot vertical clearance, which would cost between $180 million and $210 million. 2 The crossing would be built adjacent to the existing bridge.
- State: Illinois, Kentucky
- Route: US Routes 51, 60 and 62
- Type: Warren Through Truss
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 5,863 feet
- Main Span Length: 800 feet
- Roadway Width: 20 feet
- Above Vertical Clearance: 19.6 feet
- Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. US 51 OHIO RIVER BRIDGE PROJECT KYTC Item No. 1-100.00 & 1-1140.00 Wickliffe, KY to Cairo, IL. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.