US 51 at 'Cairo' Bridge opened Friday morning - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

US 51 at 'Cairo' Bridge opened Friday morning

(Source: Rae Daniel/KFVS) (Source: Rae Daniel/KFVS)
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BALLARD COUNTY, KY (KFVS) -

The US 51 Ohio River "Cairo" Bridge opened at 7 a.m. Friday.

The US 51/US 60/US 62 Ohio River "Cairo" Bridge between Kentucky and Illinois had been closed since the early morning hours of Thursday, Dec. 31 because floodwaters covered the bridge approach levee at the Kentucky end of the span.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers are checking water levels regularly and have inspected the levee. 

That inspection found no shoulder and erosion issues that plagued the area after the 2011 flood.

Late Thursday, engineers were waiting for the water to drop about 2 inches to allow the roadway to reopen.

KYTC officials were also waiting to make sure a planned discharge increase at Kentucky Dam and Barkley Dam would not force US 51 to be closed again.

The river crossing normally carries about 5,000 vehicles a day across the Ohio River. About 35 percent of that is truck traffic carrying goods between Kentucky, Illinois, and nearby Missouri.

The closure impacted north-south traffic on US 51 between Kentucky and Illinois and east west traffic along US 60 and US 62 into Kentucky and Missouri. It created about an 80 mile detour via the Interstate 24 Ohio River Bridge through southern Illinois and added about 40 miles to a trip from Paducah, Ky. to Sikeston or Cape Girardeau, Mo.

US 51 is also closed south of Wickliffe, Ky. near the Ballard-Carlisle County Line. It may be a few more days before that site can reopen.

Highway crews removed driftwood, mud and other debris from the Kentucky end of the US 52 Ohio River Bridge closure.

The Ballard County Highway Maintenance Crew also used the closure to patch potholes along the highway and on the bridge deck.

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