Talks for replacement Ohio River bridge between Cairo and Wickliffe

WICKLIFFE, KY (KFVS) - The bridge connecting Cairo, IL and Wickliffe, KY is around 80 years old and is known by Heartland motorists as one of the most narrow one's in the area. Now, research and funding between the Kentucky Transportation Department and the Illinois Department of Transportation is in the works for construction on a new one.

Keith Todd, public information officer for the KY Department of Highways dist. 1 & 2, says there has been preliminary research into a replacement bridge for some time. He approximates the start of this work looks into the issues to consider when building a new bridge.

"The engineers who were doing work on the bridge back in the 30's knew what they were doing and put them in the place that they are for a good reason," he said.

Those reasons are what engineers need to look into when constructing a new one. He says these are things like the bedrock the bridge is built on, the location of the bridge in regard to infrastructure, and the environmental impact of construction, to name a few.

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Truck drivers in the Heartland, like Brody Evans, say this is one of the more treacherous bridges on routes.

"Coming on and off the Wickliffe side of it it's got a pretty dangerous curve," he said, "I've seen several times trucks meeting each other on the bridge knocking mirrors off."

Even though money and effort is going into the bridge, Todd says it could be up to a decade before construction can start. He says it would start with IDOT and the KY. Transportation Cabinet looking for an engineering firm to do more research into figuring out how to build the bridge as early as July. Then there would be a lot more to do after.

"There would probably be some additional public meetings and examination of some of the engineering challenges that would have to be overcome to put the bridge at point A or point B," he said.

As the project moves forward, IDOT and the KY. Cabinet of Transportation will split the costs of a new bridge.

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