CAIRO (WSIL) -- Lane closures on the U.S. 51 Ohio River ‘Cairo’ Bridge has been extended until October 25.
A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet contractor is extending the duration of the work zone in order to finish work on the bridge deck.
The work zone with one-lane traffic and alternating flow controlled by an automated signal has created delays of up to an hour during peak travel periods at the Ohio River crossing between Wickliffe, Kentucky, and Cairo, Illinois.
KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat said extending the completion date means travel challenges will continue for daily commuters and cross-country travelers.
“This is not what any of us wanted to hear. However, this maintenance work is designed to get the 84-year-old structure in optimum condition as we move toward construction of a new bridge in the future,” Poat said. “This also extends the work on into fall harvest season, creating an additional challenge for farmers who haul grain across the river.”
Work on the bridge started in June with one-lane traffic. The bridge was closed to all traffic during much of August to allow substantial improvements to the roadway along the Kentucky approach embankment. During the roadway work, the contractor continued with placement of a concrete deck overlay and replacement of joints on the bridge structure.
The U.S. 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge serves as a north-south connector for U.S. 51, as well as an east-west transportation corridor for U.S. 60 and U.S. 62. The bridge carries about 7,000 vehicles per day between Kentucky and Illinois. About 35 percent of that is commercial trucks. The truck traffic volume slows movement of traffic at the automated signal.