Trucks will have to be rerouted from the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge between Wickliffe, Ky., and Cairo, Ill., for approximately 70 days beginning in June, turning a 6-mile trip from Wickliffe to Cairo into a 80-mile detour.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is reviewing bids this week for repairs on bridge deck stringers and replacement of seven joints on the bridge decking. This bridge maintenance project will require trucks to be excluded from the bridge during the work starting sometime after June 10.

“We recognize this is going to be a major inconvenience for area shippers," said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Jim LeFevre. "However, this maintenance work is required to maintain the long-term viability and reliability of this important river crossing."

While the project is scheduled for 70 working-days, LeFevre says his engineers are optimistic it can be completed more quickly than that if the weather cooperates.

Once a winning bid is selected, the contractor will meet with KYTC engineers to set a project schedule with a specific start date sometime after June 10.

Also known as the Cairo Bridge, the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge also carries U.S. 60 and U.S. 62 between Kentucky and Illinois. It connects with the U.S. 60/U.S. 62 Mississippi River Bridge which carries traffic between Illinois and Missouri.

Commercial trucks make up about 35% of the 5,500 vehicles that cross the Ohio River each day, making it a key transportation link between the three states.