Based on floodwater levels and conditions along the Kentucky approach to the US 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge connecting Kentucky and Illinois, the bridge will close sometime between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. today.
Floodwaters along the Kentucky approach to the bridge will sever a critical transportation link that carries north-south traffic on US 51 and east west traffic on US 60 and US 62.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has pre-placed message boards and signage leading to the bridge between Wickliffe, KY, and Cairo, IL, to be prepared for the closing. Based on the river forecast, the bridge is likely to remain closed until around February 28th, possibly longer if the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys get additional rainfall.
In addition to closing the US 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., today, floodwaters are likely to force US 51 to close south of Wickliffe near the Ballard-Carlisle County Line sometime in the next 24 to 48 hours. KYTC engineers are continuing to monitor that site. Additionally, state highways are blocked or restricted by floodwaters at more than 60 locations around the 12 counties of the KYTC District 1 region.
Closure of the US 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge will present travelers with about an 80 mile detour to get from Wickliffe to Cairo via the Interstate 24 Ohio River Bridge at Paducah. The detour will be shorter for motorists and truckers who adjust their travel route before they reach the bridge.