Geotechnical Testing happening for U.S. 51 Ohio River ‘Cairo’ Bridge Replacement Project


The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) announced last week that geotechnical testing for the project was to start at the end of June. The testing includes field work and drilling in the river upstream from the existing bridge.

According to the release, crews are driling and testing soil samples from ground level to as deep as 400 feet below the riverbed. Drilling is taking place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the work is complete.

“Because of the area’s complex river conditions, a lift boat will be used to minimize the impact on passing Ohio River towboat traffic,” the release stated. “The geotechnical work is expected to take a couple of months, but the schedule is dependent on river levels. The geotechnical testing will provide a better analysis of the soils under the river and existing geological conditions, which will give engineers the information necessary to design the foundations for a new bridge.”

The work will have no impact on vehicle traffic crossing the existing bridge.

The geotechnical work comes as the U.S. 51 Bridge Project Team has scheduled a meeting to update the public on planning for construction of a new bridge.

Among other things, the team plans to share the bridge design type for the new structure that could start construction in 2028. Photos and display materials will be available online at after the public meeting.

The existing U.S. 51 Ohio River ‘Cairo’ Bridge serves as a north-south connector for U.S. 51 and an east-west transportation corridor for U.S. 60 and U.S. 62. The bridge carries about 5,400 vehicles per day between Kentucky and Illinois. About 43 percent of the traffic is commercial trucks.

The bridge crosses the Ohio River at navigation mile point 980.4 and carries U.S. 51, U.S. 60, and U.S. 62 traffic. It’s the longest and the westernmost bridge in Kentucky over the Ohio River.

Source: Geotechnical Testing happening for U.S. 51 Ohio River ‘Cairo’ Bridge Replacement Project –