Making the Connection
Traffic now flowing across the
new Milton-Madison Bridge
Despite delays, much-anticipated
bridge slide complete
(May 2014) – One week after the historic slide of the Milton-Madison Bridge, traffic is again flowing across the Ohio River span that connects Milton, Ky. and Madison, Ind. via U.S. Hwy. 421. The bridge re-opened to all motorists at 7:20 p.m. Thursday, April 17.
Photo courtesy of Debbie Crawford
The new Milton-Madison Bridge is pictured in this aerial photo after having been slid into its permanent place in April atop the existing refurbished and widened piers.
“It’s a great day for the citizens of Madison and Milton. Hoosiers and Kentuckians alike are to be commended for patiently waiting to see the bridge in its permanent home and to resume driving across it,” said Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. “I express my appreciation for the hard work and professionalism of the Indiana Department of Transportation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Walsh Construction for this historic project.”
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said, “Today marks a major milestone in what has truly been a historic project. Watching the bridge slide into place last week was incredible. The community should be proud of being part of engineering history.”
The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet have recorded a video message thanking the communities, which may be viewed online at the Internet website: http://youtu.be/xfxxXUoakgY.
Spanning nearly a half mile, the truss of the Milton-Madison Bridge is the longest bridge in North America – and perhaps the world – to be slid laterally into place. Walsh Construction Co. and its subcontractors slid it 55 feet from temporary supports onto the refurbished original piers.
The 30-million pound new steel truss bridge is 2,428-feet long and 40-feet wide with two 12-foot lanes and eight-foot shoulders – twice as wide as the old bridge. A five-foot-wide cantilevered sidewalk will be added to the structure this summer.
The original Milton-Madison Bridge opened in 1929. The original truss was demolished last fall and winter in a series of explosions, then plucked from the river bottom and hauled away to a scrapyard.
Following the slide of the new truss, structural engineers inspected the bridge and determined it is safe to reopen to all traffic. For the first time in many years, large trucks are now able to cross the bridge, enhancing the economies of Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind.
There will be additional work following the re-opening, which includes completion of the pier caps, removal of the temporary piers, installation of measures to protect the refurbished piers and some painting.
As a result, the bridge is still considered a work zone and has a 20 mph speed limit. Drivers will also encounter some occasional lane shifts. Motorists are urged to proceed with caution while the bridge remains an active work zone.
In addition, before the project is officially completed, areas used for construction will be restored, including rebuilding volleyball courts and a shelter in Madison, and grading of the shorelines and improvements to Madison’s Vaughn Drive. Those items are expected to be finished this summer, bringing the project to a close less than four years after the groundbreaking ceremony in November 2010, and at a total cost expected to be significantly lower than original projections.
The project got a kick-start from the federal stimulus package, receiving a $20 million TIGER grant as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The Milton-Madison Bridge Project – a joint effort between INDOT and the KYTC – has received numerous awards. It was named one of the top 10 bridge projects in the country by Roads & Bridges magazine, received a 2012 Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science magazine and received several state and national engineering awards for innovation.
• For more information on the Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement Project, visit: www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.
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