Weight restriction at Cairo, IL, could add 80 miles to truck trips

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Monday, April 22, 2013

A bridge that carries a trio of U.S. highways over the Ohio River between southern Illinois and Kentucky will close to heavy vehicles in June, leaving truckers to navigate detours of up to 80 miles.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the Cairo Bridge that carries U.S. 51, U.S. 60 and U.S. 62 across the Ohio River will close to heavy vehicles for 70 work days on or shortly after June 10.

The agency is reviewing bids to repair the bridge deck. The restriction will affect approximately 1,900 commercial trucks per day.

Once the restriction takes effect, the regular six-mile trip between Cairo, IL, and Wickliffe, KY, will turn into an 80-mile trip, an agency official said.

“We recognize this is going to be a major inconvenience for area shippers,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet district engineer Jim LeFevre stated. “However, this maintenance work is required to maintain the long-term viability and reliability of this important river crossing. We want to give area farmers and industries as much notice as possible so that they may begin planning their route adjustments.”

Truckers routinely face detours in the region due to flooding of the Ohio and/or Mississippi rivers.

Just this week, nearly 100,000 acres are flooded in southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.

The Mississippi River is on pace to crest at 42 feet this Thursday at Cape Girardeau, MO, 10 feet above flood stage according to a flood warning issued by the National Weather Service.

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