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Vital Link

Milton-Madison Bridge Project
nears completion

Much-anticipated bridge ‘slide’
set for late August

Cove
2013 July Edition

(July 2013) – With the Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement Project nearing completion, plans are under way to celebrate it during a July 27 community-wide “Bridge Slide Party” on the Madison, Ind., riverfront. Traffic opened on the new truss in its temporary position on the night of June 3 and the weight limit was increased from three to 15 tons. Meantime, the actual sliding of the new bridge truss on to the rehabilitated original piers won’t take place until late August or early September, according to the Bridge Construction Team officials.
The much-anticipated bridge “slide” will occur once demolition and removal of the old bridge and widening of the original piers are complete. The original piers must be tapered and widened at the tops to accommodate the new 40-foot-wide bridge deck, which is twice as wide as the old deck.
“We are all looking forward to seeing the bridge slide take place as one of the final pieces of the nearly three-year project,” said Andrea Clifford, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 5 in Louisville.

Bridge Workers

Photos courtesy of Charlie Gannon, Project Supervisor, Walsh Construction Co.

Dozens of subcontractors
working on the Milton-Madison
Bridge pose for a photo in June just
before the span is open to traffic.

Demolition of the old bridge is also expected to draw a crowd. Walsh Construction Co.’s subcontractor Omega Demolition Corp. of Elgin, Ill., has been busy removing the old bridge deck and in July will use small explosives to remove the steel superstructure, one span at a time. The structure will fall into the Ohio River and then be retrieved and hauled to a scrap yard. Portions of the truss above each pier will be held in place and removed using cranes. Once the truss sections are removed from atop the piers, the remaining portions of the existing piers will be sawed into pieces and lifted off.
Meantime, local officials and residents are marveling at the beauty and openness they feel while driving across the new bridge truss. “It is so open and wide – a lot different than driving across the old bridge,” said Madison Mayor Damon Welch.
Milton Mayor Denny Jackson concurred, saying he is just glad to have the new bridge in place because “it is a vital link between the two communities.”

Milton-Madison Bridge Updated Schedule

• June-July: Demolition  and disposal of old bridge truss
• Late August or early Sept.: New bridge truss to be slid atop rehabilitated existing concrete piers
• Oct. 14: Project to be complete
• Information: www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com

Clifford said of the project, “I think it’s great how the two communities came together to get this bridge done in such a short time. It is a great example of cooperation by two states to accomplish a common goal.”
In the days immediately following the transfer of traffic to the new bridge, Walsh Construction Co. workers removed the steel bridge plate from the beam of the old bridge and delivered it to Madison City Hall, as called for in the construction contract. Welch said officials are still deciding how and where to display for public viewing. The plate features the year built and name of the contractor of the old bridge – “The Mt. Vernon Bridge Co., Mt. Vernon, Ohio, 1929.”
State and local officials are also beginning to think about how they will dedicate the new bridge, once it is open in its permanent location. Clifford said plans are taking shape to hold a dedication ceremony to include both states’ governors and transportation officials, and possibly federal transportation officials from Washington. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood attended the bridge groundbreaking ceremony, held in Nov. 30, 2010, in Madison, since $20 million of the $103 million project was paid for by a federally funded TIGER grant.

Bridge Plat

Photo by Don Ward

The steel bridge plate from
the old bridge was removed in
early June by Walsh Construction
Co. workers and delivered to Madison City Hall, as part of the contract.

The rest of the cost was split equally by the two states.
Flooding that occurred in spring 2011 and several other days of work stoppage due to inclement weather and high river levels led to a revised construction schedule. Walsh Construction Co. lost 108 days in 2011 due to the large amount of rainfall that occurred in the spring of that year. What is normally 35 inches of rain falling in this area of the Ohio River Valley each year, in 2011 it reached a high of 70 inches, officials said.
The plan to slide the bridge in June was also delayed by cold temperatures in March and high river levels that prevented the pouring of concrete on the new bridge deck. Walsh Construction Co. now says it hopes to conduct the slide of the truss into its permanent position in the fall.
The planned slide will involve moving a 2,427-foot new truss 15 feet into its final resting place. Using hydraulic jacks, the slide is expected to take several hours during the second of two planned five-day closures. The team was granted 10 days of closure in all for the project and technically only used three days during the first of two closures last year. It could use up to seven days to conduct the slide, Bridge Team officials said.
The event also is expected to draw a large crowd, both from the public and the engineering community. By the time the slide is complete and the bridge opens to traffic, motorists will have already been driving on the new truss for several months.
In addition to the removing the old bridge truss and sliding over the new one, workers have been busy installing the concrete pedestrian sidewalk on the Madison approach ramp and removing the temporary motorist ramps on each side of the river.
Meantime, state police monitoring of semi-trucks and other large vehicles has been reduced to an “as needed” basis but will continue during the July 4 holiday weekend and Madison Regatta, according to Will Wingfield, media spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Bridge Demo

Photos courtesy of Charlie Gannon, Project Supervisor, Walsh Construction Co.

Omega Demolition remove the
deck of the old bridge during demolition. Once the deck  has been removed, the steel superstructure will be blasted from the piers using small explosives. The superstructure will then be lifted from the Ohio River and hauled away for scrap.

“The temporary 15-ton and 36-foot limits are intended to be a deterrent since turning geometries are not ideal for large vehicles and semis, and the bridge is still an active work zone,” Wingfield said. “It is not a structural concern, since the temporary piers are built to the same specifications as permanent piers. But we will continue to monitor enforcement levels and adjust as appropriate. Complaints about vehicles exceeding the restrictions should be brought to the attention of state police.”
The entire project is scheduled to be complete, by contract, by Oct. 14, meaning Walsh Construction Co. equipment must be out of the main “footprint” of the bridge by then and the park shelter and volleyball court must be replaced on the Madison side. The Jay-C Park will be rebuilt later in an agreement with the city, officials said.
Even after the Oct. 14 completion deadline, Walsh can move its equipment to a staging area it created on the Milton riverfront on land it is leasing from Kenny McCoy. 
As for the falcons that return each spring to nest under the bridge, officials from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in January constructed a new nesting box under the new bridge truss that the birds accepted. Four falcon chicks were born there and have already fled the nest, officials said.

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