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.