In this Southern file photo, the Highway 62 bridge that crosses the Mississippi River from Cairo to Missouri is closed during flooding in 2012 due to the height of floodwaters. 

The Mississippi River bridge connecting the southern parts of Missouri and Illinois will close for a year while crews make major repairs to the 86-year-old structure.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Williamsen said Tuesday that the bridge will shut down March 16 and is expected to reopen March 18, 2016.

The bridge carries U.S. 60 and U.S. 62 traffic, spanning the Mississippi River from the Cairo area of southern Illinois to near Charleston in southeast Missouri. Another bridge is just six miles to the north.

Message boards are alerting motorists in parts of Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky to the pending closure and to seek alternate routes.

The two-lane bridge opened in 1929. Plans call for nearly $3 million to be spent on joint and beam repairs.

— The Associated Press

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