April 2021 Update

The preliminary roadway engineering for the project was concluded late last year and the final meetings for the environmental analysis coordination were held this month. Based on the work completed to date, the KYTC and IDOT are recommending that Alternative 2 move forward as the preferred alignment. The new bridge would have two, 12-foot lanes and two, 8-foot shoulders. Traffic forecasts did not support four lanes on the new bridge. This new bridge is proposed to be located 900’ upstream of the existing bridge and be 1.94 miles long.
The team evaluated several intersection types on the Illinois side of the bridge including a T-intersection, a roundabout and a continuous right turn. The roundabout was selected as the preferred intersection type since it is a very efficient way of handling the traffic through the intersection, allows for additional capacity, and would allow for a focal point for the community’s future growth and development.
Over the next 2 years the team will be developing and evaluating various types of bridges to determine which will be most feasible for this new crossing. A public meeting will be held at the conclusion of the bridge type study to gather input on the preferred type.
Please go to the Public Involvement page to add your email address to be notified of the dates of the public meeting and to receive updates to the project website.
We hope this finds you well and safe as our Nation works through the COVID-19 outbreak. During this pandemic, everyone’s health and safety are of paramount importance to all of us.
The April Meeting is Postponed Considering the COVID-19 outbreak along with the emergency mandates of each of the state’s governors, we are choosing to delay our scheduled April US 51 Bridge Replacement Citizens’ Advisory and Environmental Justice Group (CAG/EJ) update meeting.
Additionally, the collaboration with the Seamen’s Church Institute for navigation simulations to determine acceptable span arrangements and pier locations for the US 51 Bridge was scheduled originally in March; it is now tentatively rescheduled for the first week of June.
We want to include all this information in the next CAG/EJ Group update, so we are looking to meet with the group later this summer, perhaps in late June or the July period.
We apologize for the postponement; however, we are sure that you understand the situation dictates such measures. Please realize that the ultimate resolution of the pandemic determines when we will be able to meet as a group later this year. Thank you for your understanding.
A 2014 Alternative Selection Report evaluated potential locations for a replacement bridge across the Ohio River in this area and recommended a 2000ft corridor upstream of the existing US 51 bridge as the preferred location for the crossing. If the US 51 Bridge were not available for local traffic, the detour trip between Wickliffe, KY and Cairo, IL increases from 7 miles to 80+ miles per direction. Adding approximately 70 miles per direction to trips between Illinois and Kentucky would be a hardship to area residents.
Beginning in mid-2019, Preliminary engineering and environmental analysis are underway to improve or replace the 82-year-old US 51 Bridge over the Ohio River that is in fair condition with narrow lanes and shoulders, which connects Wickliffe in Ballard County, Kentucky, with Cairo in Alexander County, Illinois.
The goal of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) led project is to provide a constructible and affordable structure that will improve safety and mobility of the bridge.
Map showing the location of the recommended
alternative corridor within the overall project study area.
US 51 Bridge Preferred Alternative