Work on the U.S. 51 Ohio River bridge between Kentucky and Illinois will begin sometime after July 7 according to the Kentucky DOT.  The nature of the work will limit the bridge to a 7-foot maximum load width, which excludes all but passenger vehicles from the crossing for about 60 days. 

Also known as the Cairo Bridge, the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge carries U.S. 60 and U.S. 62 between Kentucky and Illinois. It immediately 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 percent of the 5,500 vehicles that cross the U.S. 51 Ohio River each day, making it a key transportation link between Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri.

The contractor will provide Kentucky about a one week notice of a specific start date for the restrictions, but July 7th would be the earliest work could start.

In a statement, Kentucky officials said they realize for some, the trip will cause an 80-mile detour via the I-24 Ohio River Bridge at Paducah. A spokesman said that by adjusting the route of travel farther out from the bridge, most larger vehicles can minimize their detour distances.