6 votes

Cairo Ohio River Bridge


View at ground level

Photo taken by James Baughn

BH Photo #102058

Street Views 


Driving across the US 60/62 Ohio River Bridge at Cairo.

While driving home from kentucky, I decided to take the scenic route (as always) so I took this back to Illinois.

Elliott Johnson

Play video


Cantilevered through truss over the Ohio River on US 51/60/62 between Cairo, Illinois and Wickliffe, Kentucky
Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois, and Ballard County, Kentucky
Open to two-lane traffic
Future prospects
Slated for demolition and replacement. As of April 2013, currently in Environmental planning stage. Public meeting to be held in 2022.
Built 1937; rehabilitated 1979
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
- Modjeski & Masters of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (Design)
- Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. of Mt. Vernon, Ohio
- Ralph Modjeski of Bochnia, Poland (Design)
- S.C. Sachs Co. (Building and electrical work)
Cantilevered Warren through truss
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.
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)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory numbers
IL 002-0006 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15008 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of August 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 33.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 15, 2022: New photos from Bambi Sharkoman
  • September 6, 2021: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • January 14, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • December 2, 2018: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • March 5, 2018: Added photos from James Baughn
  • October 11, 2015: New video from Elliott Johnson
  • July 10, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
  • 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 


  • 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
  • Andrew Raker
  • Elliott Johnson - elliottsgon15 [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Dana and Kay Klein
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Cairo Ohio River Bridge - HistoricBridges.org
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Jesse Sharkoman Berube - jesseberube5 [at] gmail [dot] com


Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted February 15, 2022, by Jesse Sharkoman (jesseberube5 [at] gmail [dot] com)

no i was on Illinois side and it was cairo police who showed up. he was really chill. and look at you deviant riding in squad cars lol. i get ballsy with trespassing to access bridges but its much easier here in texas since most private property is just pasture. i prefer to stay off the decks of bridges if there isnt space to walk generally for personal security reasons because i never ever trust any drivers. when i cross long railroad bridges i put my ear on the rails to see if i can feel or hear a train coming

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted February 15, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I wonder if it was the Kentucky police? For some reason they are particularly responsive to bridge issues, I have been driven off a bridge I was walking on by police only a couple times so far, and both involved a Kentucky police department (unusual as I travel to other states far more often, even Ohio which has an inordinate amount of police on its roads).

For this bridge I actually traveled near the summer solstice and arrived at sunrise on a weekend to complete my documentation before the traffic came up as I was concerned about this bridge becoming squad car ride #3.

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted February 15, 2022, by Jesse Sharkoman (jesseberube5 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Some Karen literally called the police on me because i was taking pictures of a bridge. the police came and literally didnt even care they just said someone called them. i ended up staying the night in the confluence park since the gates were left open overnight. it was nice and relaxing watching boats pass by watching the stars. sunrise was also amazing

Cairo Ohio River Bridge
Posted March 22, 2015, by Joe Woods (fatboyjoe1956 [at] aol [dot] com)

I crossed the bridge on March 6, 2015 after a snowstorm. I met an 18-wheeler at mid point. The bridge was shaking, the road was covered partially with black ice, and I was a bit nervous. Suddenly when I got off the bridge, here's one going over the Ohio River. I had never been here before.

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!


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.




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.

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)


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.