Rating:
5 votes

Cairo Ohio River Bridge

Share:

Photos 

View at ground level

Photo taken by James Baughn

Request this photo

Map 

Street View 

Facts 

Overview
Cantilevered through truss over the Ohio River on US 51/60 between Cairo, Illinois and Wickliffe, Kentucky
Location
Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois, and Ballard County, Kentucky
Status
Open to two-lane traffic
Future prospects
Slated for demolition and replacement. As of April 2013, currently in Environmental planning stage.
History
Built 1937; rehabilitated 1979
Builders
- Modjeski & Masters of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (Design)
- Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. of Mt. Vernon, Ohio
- Ralph Modjeski of Bochnia, Poland (Design)
Design
Cantilevered Warren through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 800.0 ft.
Total length: 5,863.7 ft. (1.1 mi.)
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 19.6 ft.
Recognition
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.99403, -89.14577   (decimal degrees)
36°59'39" N, 89°08'45" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/309050/4096362 (zone/easting/northing)
USGS topographic map
Wyatt
Inventory numbers
IL 002-0006 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15008 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 11/2011)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Appraisal: Functionally obsolete
Sufficiency rating: 40.3 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2011)
4,700

Update Log 

  • March 2, 2014: New photo from Jack Schmidt
  • May 23, 2013: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge is now doomed.
  • September 18, 2012: New photos from J.P.
  • August 20, 2011: New Street View added by Ben Tate
  • March 14, 2010: Updated by Bill Eichelberger: Added Google Street View.
  • June 13, 2009: Updated by Ian Anderson: changed from 'continuous' to 'cantilevered'
  • June 12, 2009: New photos from James Baughn
  • June 1, 2008: New photos from David B. Haun

Related Bridges 

Sources 

  • David B. Haun
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Ian Anderson - macsignals [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Bill Eichelberger
  • Ben Tate - benji5221 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth
  • Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net

Comments 

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted April 7, 2014, by John (johntherogger [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Why is it every state has to "tear down the bridge"

Can't we leave these things alone? They're Majestic, part of heritage and certainly not a interstate highway that MUST be made 4 lanes!

Ugggg!

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted May 23, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has begun the planning process to demolish and replace this signature historic bridge. Currently in early Environmental planning stage. Section 106 will eventually be triggered by this project, but Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has already shown bias in the study whose purpose is to either "improve or replace" the bridge by using the project title "US 51 Bridge Replacement Project." Based on the title, one can only assume KYTC is not taking a serious look at the "improve" portion of the study.

Demolition is a wasteful choice for this bridge. The main issue is traffic volumes, and increased redundancy and traffic lanes would most likely be best served by constructing a parallel bridge to form a one way couplet.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge & Vicinity
Posted May 1, 2011, by K. A. Erickson
Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted May 1, 2011, by Lyon Wonder (lyon_wonder [at] yahoo [dot] com)

So what's the latest news on the US-51/60/62 bridge considering that Cairo is being evacuated and the Ohio River leave's close to breaching?

Is the I-57 bridge that's several miles north of Cairo still open for traffic?

Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to close the US-60/62 Mississippi river bridge between IL and MO. I know the corps of engineers, despite objections from MO, are going to breach a leave on the Missouri side of the Mississippi to relieve the pressure on Cairo.

http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/cairo-illinois-levee-flood-birds-point-missouri-farm-water-20110430

http://www.stlbeacon.org/region/109997-over-under-and-through-the-ohios-assault-on-cairo

http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/news/local/Cairo-orders-mandatory-evacuation-121029999.html

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted March 28, 2011, by Chris Litherland (photolitherland [at] gmail [dot] com)

Awesome bridge, briefly saw it while photographing the depopulated former city of Cairo Ill.

Uploaded file: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01, 1125403 bytes

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted February 16, 2010, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

The main problem with the Cairo bridges is that both have ridiculously sharp curves at the approaches. The Ohio River bridge is particularly bad on the Wickliffe side: I bet people have complained about this bridge ever since it opened in 1937.

I have a feeling that we'll see a new four-lane bridge here in 10-15 years providing a direct connection between Missouri and Kentucky as part of "Interstate 66". Since that would bypass Cairo, I bet one or both of the old bridges would remain in place to provide access to downtown Cairo. Both of the historic bridges are in relatively good shape for their age.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted February 15, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The solution (nationwide) is to move trucks/freight back onto railroad lines where they belong and off our highways and their bridges. This will reduce congestion, reduce pollution, increase safety, reduce maintenance costs on highways, and promote the preservation of historic bridges.

By the way, in Europe many roads and bridges are far more narrow than in the USA and they live with it every day. They realize that slower speeds are a good thing and a fat Hummer might be a bad thing.

This bridge does not need to be replaced, and instead should be designated for long-term preservation.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted February 15, 2010, by Mike Page (mike [dot] page [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Perhaps they could look into restricted access...reroute the truck traffic to the new bridge. Trucks today are much bigger, and much, MUCH heavier than they were when the bridge was built. Seriously, a 1938 Mack truck looks like a big pickup truck compared to some of today's road tractors.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted February 15, 2010, by MILTON NAYLOR (MILTONNAYLOR [at] COMCAST [dot] NET)

My wife and I crossed this bridge on 2/12/10 on our way from Tennessee to Poplar Bluff MO. We were following our GPS and had no idea of the two bridges we would be crossing on hwy 60. We crossed at night and after meeting several 18 wheelers and not knowing when the nightmare would end, we felt like kneeling and praying when we reached the other side. It was like driving through the eye of a needle for over a mile. It is time this bridge is retired. My advice is not to cross this bridge at night unless you are on a motorcycle. We came back another way, crossing the Mississippi river on hwy 412. This was a modern bridge and a lot safer.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted January 25, 2010, by John Oechsner (bigtex144 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I remember the first time I went over this bridge traveling to Nashville it was quite thrilling! With no shoulder/narrow lanes and the confluence of those two massive rivers, it seemed there was an ocean right outside my window. Made me feel very vulnerable and call me weird, but got quite the adrenaline rush out of it. :D

One summer while crossing, they were doing construction like someone else mentioned below and I had to stop on it too, albeit not during a storm. But as I sat for a good 5-10 minutes, I got to feel the bridge shake significantly up and down anytime a semi passed. Provided me with another very thrilling ride! I've loved the bridge ever since and hope it's not replaced anytime soon.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted October 11, 2007, by Davwbs (Davwbs [at] starband [dot] net)

I travel this bridge about every week, but not going across the river but under it.

The lighting is very poor & does NOT meet the CFR permit that goes with it. The lights are not always lit as suppose to be. The bridge is hit every year when high water in the spring season in part of the dim lighting that marking the bridge.

The boats that travel under the bridge have to use 2 very bright lights on board to see the peirs & blind the cars & trucks going over that bridge, that could make for a very bad problem for people travling the bridge.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted October 2, 2007, by tom koller (tk48states [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I crossed this bridge on 9/30/07 in my big truck with a load of steel gross weight 78,000 lbs. If another similar weighted truck had been behind me I would have instructed the driver to stay at least one span behind.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted June 3, 2007, by boyd daniels (boyddaniels [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I THINK THIS IS A PRETTY SAFE BRIDGE TO TRAVEL,UNLIKE THE BROOKPORT BRIDGE ON I-45.I LIKE TO CROSS ALL THE EXTREME SOUTHERN ILLINOIS BRIDGES WITH OUT ANY PROBLEMS , SOMETIMES A LITTLE NERVOUS AT NIGHT THOUGH,BUT FOR THE MOST PART THEY ARE ALL SAFE TO CROSS AT ASAFE SPEED!!!

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted May 22, 2007, by The Count (dummy [at] icechalet [dot] net)
Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted August 24, 2006, by Deborah Marsala (deborah_marsala [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The reason I am visiting this site is because I had a very nerve wracking experience on this bridge Thursday, August 10, 2006. A friend and I were travelling to Kentucky taking the southern route from our home and we were crossing the bridge during a storm and were stuck in the middle of the thing during this storm because of road construction (apparently it was down to one lane on the entrance side from the east going towards Missouri.) Needless to say we were quite scared as our car was moving all over as if were about to be blown off the bridge. It was a very scary event and I will never forget it. I'm trying to get into the Cairo, IL newspaper archives to see if there was some major weather event for that day but their newspaper has no archive link.

If anyone has any info on this, please send it along.

Thanks.