ALEXANDER COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - The public can weigh-in on the project to replace the U.S. 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge between Wickliffe, Ky. and Cairo, Ill. at two meetings in September.
The meetings held by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Illinois Department of Transportation are to help inform the public about plans to replace the bridge and to gather public input.
The first meeting was held on Monday, Sept. 9 a the the Fort Jefferson Welcome Center in Wickliffe.
The second meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Cairo High School in Cairo.
Each public meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in an open house format.
There will not be a formal presentation about the plan.
Representatives from KYTC, IDOT and consultants will be available to answer questions and to gather comments and input.
Information about the bridge replacement, comment sheets and displays will be available at the meetings.
According to KYTC, their department and IDOT have started preliminary work for the replacement of the “Cairo” Bridge.
KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat is asking those who use the bridge or is affected by the project to attend one of the meetings.
“We are asking area residents, those who cross the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge, businesses that depend on commerce created by bridge traffic, and shippers who have trucks hauling materials across the bridge to attend one of these meetings,” Poat said. “We’ll share some displays and provide an update on progress to this point. We’ll also seek public input to help keep the project moving forward.”
One Kentucky truck driver, Austin Gipson, said it would be great to get a new bridge, since he uses the bridge often to haul grain over to Illinois.
“I’ve had some close calls, I’ve nearly lost a mirror, but I ain’t never been hit and I ain’t hit nobody," Gipson said. “It’s rough, it’s old, but it’s plenty wide.”
Those interested in the meetings but can not attend are asked to submit their comments to Chris Kuntz, PE, at the KYTC District 1 Office at 5501 Kentucky Dam Road, Paducah, Ky., 42003 or by calling 270-898-2431.
According to KYTC, the “Cairo” Bridge was opened to traffic in 1937 and carries approximately 5,500 vehicles across the Ohio River each day between Wickliffe and Cairo.
KYTC states the structure connects with the U.S. 60/U.S. 62 Mississippi River Bridge to Bird’s Point, Mo. at the southern tip of Illinois, creating a major transportation link connecting Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri.