Speak Out: Bridges crossing the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers below Cairo MO

Posted by Terrified on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 2:02 PM:

Last week we found ourselves with what we thought was no other alternative but to cross these bridges. We were driving a 24-ft. motor home. We understand that one of the bridges has been repaired, but both are still terrifying. On the first bridge, we met two tractor trailers. In order to move far enough to the right to avoid hitting the truck, the mirror on our motor home struck the side of the bridge. These bridges should either be made one-way, or be closed and remain closed. We will NEVER again cross a bridge over the Mississippi without researching its condition beforehand!

Replies (40)

  • The bridges are the main link through the area. There is a four-lane interstate bridge across the Mississippi at Cairo, but you have to go all the way to Metropolis to cross the Ohio, unless you want to cross the Mississippi at Caruthersville and avoid the Ohio altogether.

    In any case, the bridges are fine, and making them one lane or closing them without an alternative is a bad idea.

    -- Posted by Shapley Hunter on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 2:07 PM
  • Terrified,

    I have been driving a motor home for many years. You have just learned a valuable lesson. Fortunately for you, it only cost you a mirror.

    I been over those bridges in a car many times prior to even thinking of going that direction with a motor home. And if I have to go to Paducah or Wikcliff KY.... I will route myself through Omahah NE before I get within 5 miles of those bridges you speak of. :-)

    I'm glad you came out of it ok, but I doubt they are going to replace those two bridges for your and my convenience.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 2:09 PM
  • Terrified,

    Myself and many others cross those bridges and meet each other in trucks as large or larger than your motorhome daily mostly without incident. Your username sums up the real reason you lost a mirror. Scared, impaired or drivers without proper experience should probably take the advice of the posters above and use alternate routes.

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 3:03 PM
  • While on the subject, have they re-opened the route 62 bridge over the Miss. It had been awhile since I had made a run that way until last week and assumed it was still closed. If it is open I can avoid the great city of Cairo on my next trip.

    Wheels,

    Do you think the bridge may have been closed in order to install a "No old coot driver" sign:)

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 3:08 PM
  • Joe,

    If it wasn't it should have been.

    These motor homes are all at or about the limit 8' 5" to 8' 6" wide. Add rolled up awnings sticking out past that and mirrors and you will think twice about some of these old bridges. In as much as even someone experienced may bobble, or meet a truck taking more than his share of the road and it adds up to problems that can be avoided.

    There are now GPS systems on the market that are dedicated to RVers and should warn of low or narrow bridges and other hazards. I have found myself in extremely narrow lanes due to construction and after hurricane Ivan found myself on a floating bridge over around Pensacol FL. I have to tell you the thought crossed my mind.... what if this thing sinks. Years ago, with a converted bus/motorhome on a fishing trip, I found myself at the end of about 25 miles of road and a floating drawbridge (Old barge) ahead. I danged near sank that thing when I drove on to it. But my investment wasn't all that great at the time.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 3:34 PM
  • Not to be mean but having driven over the road for several years of my younger life I found new RV owners and U-Haul renters the worse about that. I have met hundreds of trucks on those bridges (including Cape) and never lost a mirror. I lost a one on the Old Appleton bridge before but that one had 8 foot lanes.

    Just get to the right of the line slow down and let the tractor trailer go by. If you look in your left rear view and you are on your side of the line you will be OK. It has 11 foot lanes.

    -- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 4:29 PM
  • Regrets,

    You are talking to someone here, who has an unreasonable fear of heights. It is strange what can go through your mind even on one of the big modern bridges which arches high into the sky, let alone some old bridge with 11 foot lanes that seem more like about 4 feet.

    I put my motor home inside my own buildings at times and a 12 ft door with overhead door hardware leaves about 9 to 10 inches on either side when your mirrors pass through. You are correct about the slowing down.

    I would add you really should complete your texting before starting over the bridge. I am not concerned about most traffic situations but bridges.... I hate em.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 4:44 PM
  • Years back I towed a loaded school bus across those two bridges with an undersized wrecker.

    Took a while for me and the seat cover to return to normal. :)

    I lost an electric step once on a bridge [forgot to retract] and lost a right mirror on a leaning bridge sign another time.

    Regret has it right about the mirrors telling you where you are.

    Wheels and Joe and others, I'll take a chance here and bet you can back a rig into any tight spot easily but find backing a car into the same spot a challenge.

    -- Posted by Old John on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 4:56 PM
  • Wheels

    I drove a friends motor home to Bristol for a race because he had broken his leg days before. After a hundred miles I had it down pat but the drivers seat was about a foot or more from the window and set lower than a truck's seat. It made it seem like it was twice as wide as it really was.

    -- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 5:39 PM
  • Regrets,

    They are wider than a truck cab for starters, or at least on a Class A. Mine is 8' 5" Wide, so the interior is that less the two wall thicknesses, where a truck cab is narrower than the trailer. Add to that mirror extensions.

    Old John,

    Never thought about the backing thing, but I think you are correct. When I get home, I stop and unhook the car on the street and then back the motor home a hundred and 50 yards or so in through a gate and behind a building making a couple of 90 degree turns in the process. Not that difficult. But I would turn the car around before backing it that far.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 6:19 PM
  • The width is what threw me off. It's like driving a box. BTW that car is easier to turn around.

    I've been look at rv's the last few months. Like a houseboat I have learned you can spend a lot of money on them. Thinking about a 2006 Coachmen Sportcoach a friend bought and hardly used.

    -- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 8:06 PM
  • Regrets,

    Don't know much about Coachman Sportscoach.

    Check the company out to make sure they survived the recession. There are a couple of big ones who did not. Fleetwood and Monaco both went belly up. The assets were purchased and they are back on the market in a smaller way. Problem you can run into is where does the few miles of wiring in one of these things start and stop. If the company is gone, you want to make sure the manuals are all intact. And it probably will command a lesser price. It's like I have a Panasonic TV that is giving me a problem and will probably replace it. I have yet to figure out how the decorative woodframe that holds it in place is held in place. I hate to get a wrecking bar and go to work on it. Change that, I am afraid to do that as my wife is around and will kill me if I scratch things up.

    Good luck and have fun if you choose to buy it.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 9:05 PM
  • Thanks for the info. I sure didn't know about Fleetwood.

    -- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 9:09 PM
  • Regret, Whatever you choose, make sure it has Gluggite guards around the holding tank discharge port. :)

    I've learned over the years that it is most drivers nature to risk a head on hit on a narrow street rather than take a chance on sideswiping a parked car.

    -- Posted by Old John on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 9:28 PM
  • Regrets,

    Mine was built by Tiffin in Red Bay, AL. They are privately owned and secure. Their production in Jan 2009 was at 3 per day... down from 13. Jan of 2012 they were back up to 12 per day. They take excellent care of you and are know for their after the sale service. They sell only through dealers but the factory does most of the service. And take it from me... it is not if you are going to have something go wrong, it is when you are going to have something go wrong. They are pretty complex pieces of equipment today so that you can enjoy most anything you enjoy in a home.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 10:04 PM
  • Okay, it's late and the subject has evolved, but I'll go back to the original post. People drive rv's over those bridges everyday. And, yes, the Mississippi and Ohio bridges are both open.

    People driving wide loads or who are fearful and think they have a wide load should have a front car precede them across the bridge with flashing lights and a big sign that says wide load. Just park in the middle of the two lanes once far enough for the rv to clear and stop traffic. If you don't have a wide load permit, you might get a ticket, but that would be better than a wreck brought on by fear or a too wide vehicle.

    I have seen larger than 24 foot rv's cross. Some even take the time to enjoy the Toll House Museum at the intersection or to visit Fort Defiance Park at the point. Makes the bridge trip worth the extra effort.

    -- Posted by InReply on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 12:46 AM
  • does not matter how wide the bridge is if the other driver is distracted by a cell phone, gps, texting, smoking, eating, radio

    -- Posted by CSIP2016 on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 7:43 AM
  • Old John,

    You may be right on the backing a trailer comment. My driving expierience went in the order of:

    1-Tractor and wagon forward

    2-Tractor and wagon backwards(should be a olympic sport)

    3-Log Truck

    4-Pick up

    5-Passenger car (first time driving a car was at age 19 after getting married.)

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 8:21 AM
  • Tractor and wagon backwards(should be a Olympic sport)

    It is at the fair. I am too young to have seen the original drivers working daily. It took real skill to drive a team not turning wheels and pushing petals.

    -- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 9:17 AM
  • Joe,

    I learned how to drive a car at 18 when I found my best car yet, the 41 Ford Coupe for $100 (of borrowed money). Trucks and tractors up to that time also. Hmmm, I got married at 19 also. Signed a loan for a house at 20, they didn't ask and I didn't volunteer that I wasn't 21.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 9:52 AM
  • Joe, Dad put a hitch on the front of the tractor that made backing a 4 wheel trailer a little easier.

    Car vs truck backing I think has to due with the mirrors, as truck mirrors generally aim straight down the side so you can see the truck corners where car mirrors are aimed to see traffic at a wider angle.

    I was never good at backing a semi into a turn but found backing a regular truck with a box easier than backing a car.

    -- Posted by Old John on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 12:26 PM
  • Wheels,

    I had a similar situation building our house. When I was 18 and engaged to my wife, I went to our local bank, which our family had used since it first opened long before my time, and explained how much I needed and the purpose for the loan. This bank had just opened a second branch and foolishly I went to the new one where many of the employees were also new,

    The employee explained that there was no way I would be able to have a house built for that small off an amount of money I asked for. I told how much money I had saved to add on to the loan amount, but he still insisted it would not be enough and that my income was not enough to obtain the loan with out a co-signer.

    I nodded my head in agreement, left that branch and went to the original bank where the loan officer knew me and my family. I walked into his office, explained what I needed, signed some paper work and was on my way with my money.

    This man knew who I was. He knew we owned a sawmill and would saw all the lumber for the house ourselves. He knew that just like my dad and his dad and all before him, I would be building the house myself, no paying a contractor. Most importantly he knew I would never miss a payment and he could trust my word.

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 12:54 PM
  • -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 12:54 PM

    Feels good.... doesn't it Joe?

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 12:57 PM
  • Old John,

    We had a hitch on the front of our 2000 ford also and it did made backing the wagon much easier. The youngsters had to start out on the tri cycle farmall B, no hitch on the front, so we would learn the "right way" to back a wagon.

    Our old hip roof barn had room to pull all the way around it so there was no backing needed. Many of the other farms we worked we were not so lucky. One time my cousin was climbing up the hay elevator into the barn. The bottom of the elevator rested on a couple of square bales. I was backing the wagon in as he was climbing up. I lost sight of the elevator just long enough to clip it with the wagon and knock it loose. Needless to say my cousin came down a little harder of that elevator than if he would have slid down it the normal way:)

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:01 PM
  • Sure does Wheels.

    Oh and sorry to the original poster for heading of in a new direction here:)

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:02 PM
  • -- Posted by Old John on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 12:26 PM

    Old John,

    Never thought much about what was easier to back up. But just came back from an errand with my wife's car, and you are correct... you cannot see out of it adequately.

    My motor home has three mirrors each side, top mirror which is one of those "objects are closer than they appear" kind, same with bottom one. Center one is a normal mirror. You can see the big view with the top mirrot all the way back and the big view with the bottom one pointed down and showing you what not to hit with the front end. If I am parking in close to something, I will always adjust the normal mirror so that I can see the back wheel and on to the back of the unit. Plus I have a camera on the back that shows what is directly back of me. An inside mirror is also furnished and it's only use is for the thermometer in it showing the outdoor temperature.

    But you are correct, it is easier to possition a truck or motor home into tight quarters than it is a car.

    Disclaimer: Of course this is all theoretical, so stay way back lest you be runned over. I am over 70 and unsafe at any speed. Credit to Ralph Nader and the early 60's Corvairs.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:10 PM
  • Oh and sorry to the original poster for heading of in a new direction here:)

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:02 PM

    Joe, I'll bring it back here. I still don't like those two bridges. I would cross them if I had to, but would just as soon drive around them.

    I do not trust truck drivers blindly either. I was passing one recently in the bootheel on I55 that nearly ran me into the median. Enough horn and he finally woke up as I was trying to retreat.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:17 PM
  • I always got a little frustrated with those two lane road bridges that were striped off into one lane, especially when the car in front came to a stop to wait for a car a quarter mile away to approach. [was that you Wheels? :)] I generally stay on my side as if it were still a two lane and barrel through if it is another car and not something big coming.

    -- Posted by Old John on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:29 PM
  • Rick,

    ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

    Old John,

    ☻ ☻ ☻ ☺

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:44 PM
  • Sorry OJ

    I meant to put in horse team on my last post. Those guys amaze me.

    -- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 2:59 PM
  • Disclaimer: Of course this is all theoretical, so stay way back lest you be runned over. I am over 70 and unsafe at any speed. Credit to Ralph Nader and the early 60's Corvairs.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 1:10 PM

    Makes it even worse with that blinker stuck on for 75 or 80 miles:)

    .

    .

    .

    .

    My grandpa had a peculiar driving habit that got even more obvious the older he got.

    He always drove faster on gravel/dirt roads than on pavement. I am not sure I ever saw him go over 45 mph on pavement, but as soon as his tires hit gravel the speedometer would take off. The older he got the slower he drove on pavement and the faster he would fly on dirt.

    By the time he was in his late 80's I thought about building him a stock car and putting him on the local dirt track:)

    -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 4:01 PM
  • Joe,

    My Dad always fussed about my Maternal Grandfather's driving. Said he drove way too fast. And he probably did. Didn't seem to make much difference gravel or the hard roads, he was always in a hurry. Only difference I could tell was there wasn't any rocks flying on the hard surfaced roads.

    In his defense... he never had an accident. So far as I know he never so much as ran over a neighbor's chicken.

    So who is to be critical of what works.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 4:12 PM
  • "Makes it even worse with that blinker stuck on for 75 or 80 miles:) "

    Joe,

    I was going to ignore that, but then I thought not. Is that what you suppose causes them doo-dads, as Obama calls them, that keep clicking under your dash to wear out?

    See... by leaving our blinkers on, we wear out doo dads and have to buy new ones, thereby stimulating the economy.

    And here you are being uppity about it, thinking we forgot, when all along, all's we wuz doin was being patriotic.

    -- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 4:19 PM
  • Just got back from a run to Paducah, Ky. Crossed that ol' Kentucky bridge both times.The first time we had to stop in the middle of the bridge as there were workmen striping the new repairs. We were behind a semi and met two or three huge rigs who had the right of way. Coming back, all we saw were trucks. During harvest, traffic is much heavier.

    It seemed like my dad could back his rig into any alleyway no matter how narrow. Being blind in one eye didn't seem to hinder him as much as my blabbing while he tried to concentrate. I only saw him have to pull forward and try again once.

    -- Posted by InReply on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 7:43 PM
  • Reply, I remember Mom yelling "You kids pipe down so I can see" when at an intersection. :)

    -- Posted by Old John on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 7:56 PM
  • -- Posted by Joe Dirte on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 4:01 PM

    Joe

    When I was young my beat up and run out old truck drove much better on gravel due to the worn out front end.

    -- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 8:29 PM
  • My brother said driving fast on gravel didn't give the wheels time to fall down into the chug holes, thus a smoother ride.

    Rick, Have you checked out James Baughn's collection of old bridge pictures and history? Many are works of art to folks smarter than me that appreciate and understand engineering.

    -- Posted by Old John on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 8:51 PM
  • There was an interesting old bridge leading into Thebes that is now gone. When we returned to the area, it was one of the things I first noticed. Why they didn't block it off and preserve it was beyond my simple mind.

    -- Posted by InReply on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 10:24 PM
  • Reply, I remember Mom yelling "You kids pipe down so I can see" when at an intersection. :)

    -- Posted by Old John on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 7:56 PM

    Don't know how to do the smiley faces so LOL

    And I tell the kids to wait while I get my glasses so I can hear them

    -- Posted by InReply on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 11:33 PM
  • Rick, As agent 99 was known to say, "I didn't know that!"

    Reply, When Mom shifted to second she was always late to press the gas causing a certian slow down jerk in momentum. That really bugged me.

    Regret, I had a truck like that. Let the air out of one tire and over inflate the other and it was easier to conrtol

    -- Posted by Old John on Wed, Jun 13, 2012, at 12:27 AM

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