Inspection on Cairo Mississippi River Bridge will decide its future

The future of the Cairo-Mississippi river bridge is up in the air
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:17 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2023 at 9:27 PM CDT
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CAIRO, Ill. (KFVS) - The future of the Cairo Mississippi River Bridge is up in the air.

Currently, the 93-year-old bridge between Alexander County, Illinois and Mississippi County, Missouri is closed and under inspection, and the results could impact its future.

The future of the Cairo Mississippi River Bridge is up in the air.

The engineer in charge of that inspection said even though the bridge is still safe, they’re trying to figure out what their next move will be.

“I think this inspection is really going to help tell the story,” said Illinois Department of Transportation’s District 5 engineer Kirk Brown.

The ongoing inspection of the U.S. 60/62 bridge should point them to one of three options.

“Either repair it and continue maintaining in the future, a replacement could be an option, but also a removal could be an option,” Brown said.

This bridge connects Missouri and Illinois, and it’s frequently used by a specific group of commuters.

Missouri farmer Bill Feezer lives on the Missouri side of the bridge but has land in both states.

“A lot of farmers use it, it’s just the only way we have to go back and forth,” Feezer said. “There are a lot of farmers that farm on both sides of the river, and they use it quite regularly.”

He said at this time of year, the bridge being closed is not a huge inconvenience. But come farming season it will be.

“It’ll interrupt a lot of people,” Feezer said.

He said without a bridge, farmers like him would have to keep separate equipment on both sides. Feezer said he doesn’t know how much the duplicate equipment would be exactly, but said he assumes it would be rough.

This inspection process continues into next week. Brown said once they have the information they need, they’ll start making decisions.

“After that, we’ll begin to work with our partners in Missouri--since this is a border bridge, we do share in the cost of whatever an improvement needs to be,” Brown said. “So, we’ll work with them to determine that scope of repairs to see what the plan needs to be for this bridge.”

Feezer said he hopes farmers are taken into consideration when decisions are made.

“There’s a lot of farmers that cross on both sides, there’s a lot of farmers that farm on both sides, and it would definitely impact them someway, ” Feezer said.

No word yet on when we can expect to hear the results of this latest inspection. In the meantime, Brown said they appreciate drivers’ patience.