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Location, location, location...

Preservationists voice preference
for Canip Creek bridge crossing

Letter sparks controversy
among committee members

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(April 2009) – Several historic preservation groups have joined together to voice their preference for a new location for a replacement Milton-Madison bridge. Not all preservation interests agreed.

Milton-Madison Bridge Project Logo

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

A letter written by an attorney for the National Trust for Historic Preservation was presented at the March 24 Milton-Madison Bridge Project meeting. It promotes “Alternative 12” or Canip Creek “Alternative B” as having the least adverse impact on historic properties in the area. It was read by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana’s Greg Sekula during a public comment period.
During the meeting, Project Advisory Group members were organized into small groups and worked to help consultants narrow the location alternatives to be further examined. Members discussed whether each of the 10 alternative locations previously identified at other meetings met the purpose and needs criteria for the project.
After the small group work, it was decided that four alternatives should be given more intense scrutiny. These alternatives are the Jefferson Street “Alternative 6,” The KY Hwy. 36 “Alternative 8” and the Canip Creek “Alternatives 11 and 12.”
Tim Sorenson, one of the consultants on the project, said alternatives 1-3, which are “Do Nothing,” “Rehabilitation,” and “Superstructure Replace-ment,” have not been ruled out at this point. ”Alternatives 1-3 will be carried forward unless analysis shows they are not feasible.”
“The information available to date shows that Alternative 12 appears to have the least adverse impact on identified historic properties in Kentucky and Indiana. Alternative 12 is outside the boundaries of the Madison National Historic Landmark District in Indiana and is position on the edge of the Hunters Bottom National Register Historic District in Kentucky,” stated the letter from the NTHP and signed by several historic preservation groups.

Canip Creek map

The letter also said the Alternative 12 should be given priority consideration, with a provision for a bypass location around Madison’s Historic Landmark District.
“Those who signed the letter felt we needed to get this on the table at this time,” said Sekula, in a follow-up phone interview. “Of course we understand there needs to be more evaluation done and more information collected.”
“The preservation consulting parties acknowledge the importance of a cross-river bridge connection to the economic vitality and quality of life in the region. While no party disputes the need for a new vehicular bridge, the organizations and interests represented by this letter do not support alternatives that would directly site the new bridge within the boundaries of the Madison National Historic Landmark District,” stated the letter.
“We recognize the bridge doesn’t exist in a vacuum; we feel this alternative looks most viable with less damaging impact to the historic district.”
Rich Murray, president of Cornerstone Society, the local affiliate of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana,” said his group has a sense of urgency about some of the locations because of the “potential for effects of truck traffic funneled through the middle of the historic district in Madison.

Bridge meeting

Photo provided

During a February public meeting,
residents of Milton, Ky., and
Madison, Ind., were given a chance view
location alternatives for a possible
new Milton-Madison Bridge.

“We will have to wait and see what happens if the location selected for a new bridge would lie within the historic district in Madison.”
He said it became obvious at the recent meeting that the “parameters for the purpose and needs statement directing the site selection may be way too narrow.” The purpose and needs objectives were developed from ongoing discussions and comments by PAG members are previous meetings. Many historic preservation interests have PAG members present at these meetings.
Nathaniel Adams, a PAG member representing historical interests in Milton, criticized the letter, calling it “premature” and “selective.”
“There is a process the National Environmental Policy Act has established that we need to go through,” said Adams, an attorney, said in a phone interview. “I feel this letter has dictated which alternative must be chosen and has short circuited the entire process.”
He also said many of the parties involved in the Section 106 process for the project were excluded. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to taken into account the effects of their actions on historic properties and affords the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation the opportunity to comment.
“When (Project Manager) John Carr asked if all 106 parties were represented, I could emphatically say no because I represent one of them, and I was certainly not consulted on this issue,” said Adams. He thought the lack of consultation with all 106 groups was “shocking.”
He said it is understandable that criticism is going to happen in this type of project but the notion that replacement of the bridge is at odds with historic preservation is false.
Adams said everyone involved in the project can agree that the bridge is in need of replacement. “There are groups who have a narrow view,” he said. “They need to come to the table and go through the entire process.”
The next PAG meeting for the Milton-Madison Bridge Project is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 28 in Madison.

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