locations being examined
for future Milton-Madison bridge
meeting will explore best site
(January 2009) While a committee of engineers,
designers and area residents from both sides of the Ohio River debate
the best location for a new Milton-Madison Bridge, the ultimate decision
will be made by the Kentucky Department of Transportation, say officials.
Project Advisory Group
Bridge Proposed Locations
Located four miles downstream of the existing bridge, this site
would take the bridge out of Madison and Milton, thereby alleviating
traffic from both downtowns. There would be four miles of connecting
roadway on difficult terrain and several historic structures to
contend with; however, the bridge would be located outside of
Madisons National Historic Landmark District.
Two possible alternatives for a Jefferson Street approach on the
Madison side were suggested. Both alternatives would impact parks
in Madison and have to contend with the National Historic Landmark
District. There would be flood plain issues with these alternatives,
and in alternative B, Coopers Bottom Road on the Milton side would
have to be raised 30-40 feet. Because of grade issues, the tie
down would occur between Second Street and Main Street, and parallel
frontage roads would have to be built between Main Street and
to Existing Bridge
This alternative would bring the approaches out of the flood plain
with new connections above the existing roadway and would maintain
the truck runaway ramp in Milton; however issues on how to tie
into existing roadways and address safety concerns would have
to be resolved. This alternative would impact the Third Street
Historic District in Milton, and the commercial, historic and
residential impacts in Madison.
4. KY Hwy.
This alternative would bring the approaches out of the flood plain
and maintain truck runaway ramp in Milton. However, it would impact
multiple historic properties and Miltons Third Street Historic
District. It would also impact homes and business in Milton and
This alternative would require an overpass to Ky. 36 and a new
connection to US 421 in Madison could be out of the floodplain
and improve curve problems. It would use or parallel School Hollow
Road. However this alternative would impact commercial, historic
and residential properties and would require additional roadwork
This site would be one mile east of the existing bridge and would
require overpasses for Indianas State Hwy. 56 and KY 36.
The bridge would be situated in the Hunters Bottom Historic District
and would be near at least one historic property. There are also
known archaeological sites on the Indiana side.
But a series of monthly meetings has begun to explore
all aspects of building the future bridge. At the third meeting in the
series, held Dec. 9, engineers from Wilbur Smith Associates Inc. presented
the pros and cons with six different bridge locations. No recommendations
were made, but the public was given the opportunity to provide input
and examine the data.
The current bridge, built in 1929, has been determined
to be functionally obsolete and structurally deficient by
state inspectors, yet it continues to be used as the only crossing between
Louisville and Markland Dam. Replacing the busy artery connecting the
two states will be a long, arduous process.
Not one of the proposed sites for a new bridge addresses everyones
concerns, said Tim Sorenson, deputy project manager for Wilbur
Smith Associates. There is no magic bullet.
His firm, based in Lexington, Ky., is conducting a three-year, $5 million
engineering, design and environmental study on a possible replacement
A possible Jefferson Street connection received much of the scrutiny
from project advisory members. In this proposal, a bridge across the
Ohio River would tie into Ky. Hwy. 36 in Milton and cross the river
to Jefferson Street in Madison. Because of grade requirements over the
river channel, a tie down would occur between Second Street and Main
Street in Madison. Both the Third Street Historic District in Milton
and the National Historic Landmark District in Madison would be impacted,
as well as the park and riverfront along Vaughn Drive in Madison.
Jefferson Street has the width for a bridge and frontal streets,
said Sorenson. Engineers werent sure yet if Second Street under
such a bridge would be clear for automotive traffic, but pedestrians
and bicyclists would have ample room to navigate. There would
be room for angled parking under the bridge, said Sorenson.
An example of a similar bridge in Ashland, Ky., was shown to advisory
board members. Citizen representative Ann Grahn of Madison was one of
the project advisory group members who voiced concerns about this site
alternative. Our downtown community would be cut in half,
she said. In such a small community, that could have a huge impact.
Other site selections included a parallel bridge site,
a western bypass alternative that would re-route traffic out of the
downtown areas in both communities, an alternative location through
Lonesome Hollow and a Ky. 36 alternative with access via High Street
in Madison and Coopers Bottom Road in Milton.
While locations for a possible new bridge location dominated the discussion
at the meeting, several other options for the Milton Madison Bridge
have not been completely tabled. One includes the do-nothing
option, which J.D. Williams, of Michael Baker Jr. Inc., said has to
be dealt with during the discussions as part of the environmental process.
This option is a baseline for measurement of other alternatives.
What happens if we do nothing? said Williams. The bridge
would close to truck traffic potentially by 2020 and then to all traffic
Mary Jo Hamman, the Indiana Director of Transportation for Michael Baker
Inc., said there is a rehabilitation option that would keep the
bridge open for 25 years.
This option involves a more extensive repair and restoration project
than the one completed in 1997, she said. However, it wouldnt
take care of any geometric problems such as the narrow lanes and approach
Under that option, there would be more frequent inspections, and deterioration
would continue, but at a slower rate than the do-nothing
alternative. The option to rehabilitate would keep the bridge open until
The possibility that a new bridge would be built on the existing site
was also discussed. The new bridge would use the existing substructure
of the old bridge. In December, sub-contractors for Wilbur Smith Associates
conducted tests on the bridge to see if the substructure could hold
a new superstructure.
Its not always possible to put a new superstructure on an
existing substructure, but it is an alternative to consider,
said Williams. Well just have to see.
That kind of alternative would require the bridge to be closed for one
entire construction season of March-November and would require other
means of emergency transportation across the river during that time.
It would however be less costly than a new bridge.
A brief review of the previous meetings in which the purpose and need
of such a replacement project was led by John Mettille, senior environmental
project manager for Wilbur Smith Associates. Once the purpose
and needs and goals of the project are refined, a final proposal will
be submitted to transportation officials in Kentucky and Indiana,
In January, the project advisory group will discuss bridge design, and
in February, the first public meeting for the bridge project will be
held. The time, date and place of the next meeting has not been set.
For more information about the Milton-Madison
Bridge Project, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.
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