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Building the bridge

Public to voice opinions
on bridge design at Feb. meeting

Three additional locations
were presented in January

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(February 2009) Local residents from both sides of the Ohio River will get a chance to give their input on select design features for a future Milton-Madison Bridge at a Feb. 12 public forum in Madison. The fourth bridge meeting in as many months is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Brown Gym, 100 Broadway St.
The meeting will begin with an “Information Fair,” followed by a presentation and public polling exercise. Electronic preference polling will be used to gauge public preference on a variety of bridge characteristics such as shape, height and symmetry. The program was designed by Ted Grossardt of the Policy and Systems Analysis Division of the Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky. The system has been used successfully with other infrastructure projects in the past, officials say.
“Because we are still in the early stages of the project, we want public feedback on very general bridge design qualities like height, shape and symmetry,” said Steve Smith, Indiana Department of Transportation’s project manager. “We are not asking the public to choose a specific bridge type because we are not at that point in the project.”
“This is not a vote on which type of bridge to build,” said Project Manager John Carr of Wilbur Smith Associates during a Jan. 13 meeting at Milton Elementary School. “It’s a statistical tool for design guidance.”
During the polling, three views of 18 different bridge types will be computer generated. Individual handheld electronic polling devices will be used by the public to gauge preference. Citizens will look at an image and score it. The data will be analyzed and favorable combinations will be noted. Those 18 selections will be then narrowed down to six for a second preference poll.
“It’s like when contestants poll the audience on the TV show, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’,” said Grossardt. “We show choices up on the screen and the public gives us instant input.”
Only arch, cable stay and truss bridges will be presented during this step because girder and suspension bridges are not feasible for this project. Aaron Stover of Michael Baker Jr. Inc., said the girder bridge is used for shorter spans than what a new Milton-Madison Bridge would need, while a suspension bridge is used for a longer span and comes with a higher price tag.
Members of the Project Advisory Group were concerned that preferences could change based on the final location of the bridge. “How can you pick a bridge type without knowing the location?” asked Madison business owner Peter Woodburn. “The location plays a factor in determining what style of bridge to choose.”
Several other advisory group members wanted to know if the location could be narrowed to help with design types.
Jefferson County businessman Warren Auxier also was concerned about holding the polling preference before a location was chosen. He said people may want a more traditional bridge if a downtown Madison location was selected, while a more modern bridge could be a preference outside of the downtown area.
“We are not asking you to pick the bridge type,” said Stover. “We are simply trying to get preferences out of this.”
“Can we go through this process twice?” asked Ann Grahn, a Madison resident and advisory group member.
“After the first poll, we will bring back six preferences for step two,” said Carr. “If we don’t have it right, you will get to say so in step three.” He said there will be a chance at some point to give a preference for each location.
Tim Sorenson of Wilbur Smith Associates also described three new potential locations for a replacement bridge.
n The Eagle Hollow Alternative, situated 1.9 miles from the existing bridge, would require overpasses of Indiana Hwy. 56 and Kentucky Hwy. 36. The site would lie beyond the Madison Landmark and Historic District but fall in the Hunters Bottom Historic District of Milton, Ky. Earthwork due to terrain lessens would be required in Indiana to make a future hilltop location.
n Around Milton Alternative would require an overpass of KY Hwy. 36. It would use or parallel School Hollow Road and would require additional roadwork in Milton. A new connection to U.S. Hwy. 421 could be made out of the floodplain and would improve curves. It would be located near multiple historic properties.
n Canip Creek Alternative would require an overpass of Kentucky Hwy. 36, while Indiana Hwy. 56 would intersect at-grade with the new bridge. Fulton Street would be cut off at the bridge. This location would require upgrades to School Hollow Road to become U.S. Hwy. 421 but the approach would be out of the floodplain. The Truck Runaway Ramp in Milton would have to be addressed.
During the February public meeting, there will be stations set up around the gym giving people the chance to ask questions about the project in an informal setting.
Citizens will also have the opportunity to provide feedback on possible bridge location alternatives. Maps showing potential alignments will be on display.

• For more information about the Milton Madison Bridge Project, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.

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