The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is studying options for improving or replacing the aging Cairo Bridge that connects Wickliffe, Ky., and Cairo, Ill. The bridge carries about 5,400 vehicles daily across the Ohio River. The 76-year-old bridge is considered “functionally obsolete” because it doesn’t meet modern traffic standards.
The nearest alternate upstream river crossing is the Ohio River Bridge in Paducah, and it requires a 2-hour detour. Downstream, it’s the Dorena-Hickman Ferry and the Mississippi River Bridge.
KYTC project manager Mike McGregor says the study is the beginning of a long process and construction would not begin for years. The project workers will be counting traffic, evaluating bridge conditions and investigating environmental and community resources in the next few months.
The options for the Cairo Bridge include rehabilitating it or replacing it either in its current location or in a new one. KYTC expects to scheduled meetings for residents of Wickliffe and Cairo within the year.