Ohio River Bridge Hit By Barge

Below is a news release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on the Ohio River Bridge situation:

From Keith Todd: A barge hit closed the US 51/US 60/US 62 Ohio River Bridge between Wickliffe, KY, and Cairo, IL, for about 90 minutes this morning.

According to the US Coast Guard Operations Center in Louisville, the Harbor Tug Cooperative Venture with a 12 barge tow struck the left pier of the Illinois span on the bridge at about 3:00 a.m., CDT.

The pilot reported losing steerage as the downbound boat slowed in the current causing one of the barges loaded with corn to scrape the pier.

The bridge was closed to traffic and the Coast Guard contacted the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.  A certified bridge inspector was dispatched to run a safety check on the bridge structure and found no structural damage.  The bridge was reopened to traffic about 5:20 a.m.

The Coast Guard indicated the crew of the tug was trying to ascertain the extent of damage to the barge.  The Coast Guard will interview members of the crew as part of their follow up on the incident.

The Wickliffe-Cairo Bridge carries US 51, US 60, and US 62 traffic across the Ohio River at US 51 Kentucky mile point 7.372.

Also known as The Cairo Bridge, the US 51/US 60/US 62 Wickliffe-Cairo Bridge carries approximately 5,500 vehicles across the Ohio River each day between Wickliffe, KY, and Cairo, IL.

The US 51 Ohio River Bridge was constructed by the Cairo Bridge Commission as a toll facility and opened to traffic on November 11, 1936.  Tolls were removed from the crossing on November 11, 1948, when the highway departments of Kentucky and Illinois took over maintenance of the structure.

The Cairo-Wickliffe Bridge is at Ohio River navigation mile point 980.4.


Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Keith Todd tells Local 6 the Ballard County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 4:17 a.m. that a barge hit the Ohio River Bridge between Illinois and Kentucky. Once crews arrived and assessed the situation, those crews shut down traffic along the bridge.

As of 5 a.m., Todd said the bridge was back open but traffic was moving slowly. If the Ohio River Bridge is part of your morning commute, allow more time to get where you’re going this morning.

This is a developing situation and we will bring you updates as they become available.

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