U.S. 51 Ohio River ‘Cairo’ Bridge to close due to high water

WICKLIFFE, KY — The U.S. 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge will close at 6 p.m. Friday, March 2, due to flooding. The bridge connects Wickliffe, Kentucky, to Cairo, Illinois.

That announcement came around 2:30 p.m. Friday from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. KYTC says floodwaters are on the Kentucky approach to the levee at the 7 mile marker of U.S. 51.

The cabinet says the Ohio River gauge at Cairo was at 53.5 feet Friday afternoon, and a crest of 55 feet is expected Saturday morning. Engineers are closing the bridge because the depth of the water and debris floating into the road cause safety concerns.

KYTC crews will flag one-lane traffic with alternating flow starting around 3 p.m. Friday to help maintain travel on the bridge as long as possible before the closure. But, the closure does begin promptly at 6 p.m. Drivers will not be allowed on the bridge after that time.

The closure creates about an 80-mile detour through southern Illinois to get from Cairo to Wickliffe. That’s a drastic increase to a trip that KYTC notes is normally about 8 miles. The cabinet says the bridge is likely to stay closed for about a week, but it may be closed longer if the flood crest rises even higher.

KYTC sent word anticipating the closure on Thursday. For that story, click here.

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