Building the Bridge
first bridge closure on April 25-29
on closure is set for March 22
(February 2012) The first five-day closure
of the Milton-Madison Bridge has been tentatively set for April 25-29,
barring further construction delays due to poor weather, high river
levels or other adverse conditions, officials say.
The closure is the first of two planned five-day closures on the $103
million project to replace the 82-year-old superstructure and reinforce
the existing concrete piers. This first closure is required to allow
workers to connect temporary approach ramps to the existing bridge from
both sides of the Ohio River. A second five-day closure is planned at
the end of the project when the newly built superstructure will be slid
into place atop the existing piers.
During this first closure, the project contractor, Walsh Construction
Co., will work around the clock to remove the existing bridge approaches
and connect temporary ramps in Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Kentucky Transportation
Cabinet (KYTC) announced the dates of the first five-day, construction-related
closure on Jan. 31.
Shifting traffic to the temporary ramps is just the first in a
series of steps were taking to ensure traffic keeps moving during
construction, said Kevin Hetrick, INDOT project manager. When
you consider that this community was initially facing a year-long bridge
closure, five days while still an inconvenience is a lot
During the planned five-day closure, a ferry service will be provided
for emergency medical services only. Drivers will detour to the Markland
Locks and Dam Bridge, 26 miles upstream, or Louisville, 46 miles downstream.
by Don Ward
in January 2012
again delayed construction on
the new Milton-Madison Bridge
over the Ohio River. The recent
flooding followed the wettest year
on record in the area. Above,
debris piles up against the new
In order to explain closure-related traffic changes and
emergency services provisions and provide a bridge construction update,
the project team will conduct a public meeting on March 22 at The Brown
Gym, 100 Broadway St., in Madison, from 6-8 p.m., with a presentation
beginning at 7 p.m.
Construction began in early 2011 to replace the narrow and deteriorating
Milton-Madison Bridge using innovative design and construction methods.
A new 2,400-foot-long steel truss bridge will be built on temporary
piers. Two long sections of the new bridge will be hoisted into place
using special hydaulic jacks.
Traffic will eventually be diverted onto the new bridge while it is
still being supported by the downstream temporary piers until the old
bridge can be removed. Walsh Construction plans to use small explosives
to remove the old superstructure from the piers. The old steel work
will drop into the river and be picked up and hauled away for scrap.
Then the new bridge will be slid into place on top of the existing piers,
which are being strengthened to meet modern standards. Once complete,
the new wider bridge will lie within the footprint of the existing bridge.
The bridge sliding and connection of the permanent approaches to the
new bridge will take place during the second five-day closure, scheduled
by Don Ward
Construction Co.s work to strengthen the existing concrete
piers of the Milton-Madison Bridge have been hampered by flooding
once again in January, filling the coffer dams around the base
of the piers with water. It was the sixth flooding event in the
past year. With the recent setbacks, the new bridge is now expected
to open to traffic in early 2013.
The project has been hampered by heavy rain almost from
the start. After a year of record-breaking rainfall and sustained high
river levels last year, an adjusted project schedule indicates the new
bridge will open to traffic in 2013. The final touches, such as the
pedestrian walkway, will be added later, after the bridge has been opened
to traffic. The bridge had originally been scheduled to open to traffic
by September 2012.
When river levels rise, the cofferdams flood, the current is swift
and its simply not safe for our workers, explained Andy
Barber, KYTC project manager. We built time into the schedule
for weather issues, but when you see these kinds of rainfall extremes,
obviously its not something we can control. So well make
adjustments and keep the project moving forward as quickly and safely
as we can.
The project schedule was impacted by five high-water events, delaying
work on the project a total of 108 days in 2011. A sixth high water
event took place in mid-January when the river reached flood stage once
again due to heavy rain.
The good news is that the schedule adjustment does not impact
the length of the planned bridge closures; the two closures will still
last just five days each, explained Hetrick. Were
hoping no more weather records will be broken in 2012.
Named one of the Top 10 bridge projects in the country by Roads
& Bridges Magazine, and the recipient of several state and
national engineering awards, the Milton-Madison Bridge Project is a
bi-state effort between INDOT and KYTC.
For more information, visit: www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com
or follow the project on Twitter @MMBridgeProject.
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