WICKLIFFE-- After years of discussion, there is now a safety solution for the aging U.S. 51 "Cairo Bridge."

In a few years you'll hopefully be driving on a brand new bridge. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Illinois Department of Transportation have started the first stages of engineering and environmental analysis for the replacement of the bridge. The project team will hold public meetings on Monday and Tuesday, to gather public comments to assist with the decision-making as the project moves forward.

Galen Dowdy has lived in Wickliffe his entire life. He said he has seen the condition of the Cairo Bridge get worse over the years.

He is going to the public meeting Monday to learn more about the new bridge.

Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the new bridge will have a wider deck, which will make driving easier for the 5,000 people who cross the bridge daily.

Although the bridge will eventually be replaced, Todd said it will take five to 10 years before construction begins. It will take another two to three years before it's complete. So for now, they'll just maintain the current bridge as best as they can.

Cairo Bridge

Dowdy hopes that eventually this will help Wickliffe.

"My hope is that with that happening, maybe our town will grow a little bit," Dowdy said.

The bridge is expected to cost $230 million to complete. The transportation department will cross "that" bridge when they get there.

The Kentucky and Illinois transportation department want to hear from you about this project. The public meeting will be tomorrow at the Fort Jefferson Welcome Center from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday's meeting will be at Cairo High School from 5 to 7 p.m.