to build new bridge
by closing current one only 10 days
will cross on a temporary bridge
to be erected during the year-long project
Indiana Edition Cover
(November 2010) Residents on both sides of
the Ohio River have reacted with surprise, happiness and relief to the
news announced in October that the U.S. Hwy. 421 bridge between Madison,
Ind., and Milton, Ky., can be replaced in 21 months with only 10 days
of traffic closure.
A $103 million contract has been awarded to Walsh Construction Co. of
LaPorte, Ind., at a savings of 15 percent off the engineers estimate
of $121 million. Work begins in January.
Although many questions about the project remain contractors are sure
about one thing: It will be an unprecedented undertaking.
Never before on the Ohio River has a 3,181-foot truss and roadway been
fully constructed and then pushed into place, as the Milton-Madison
Bridge is projected to be by Sept. 15, 2012.
We expect this is the largest bridge-sliding process in North
America. There will be a lot of people come to watch it. Were
expecting it will be engineer day in Madison and Milton,
said Project Manager John Carr of Wilbur Smith Associates.
Im excited about it and the more I hear about it the more
excited I get, said Trimble County Judge-Executive Randy Stevens.
Its an innovative approach to getting the bridge replaced,
said Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong, adding, Its great news
Milton Mayor Denny Jackson reacted, I think it is all very encouraging.
I think it will be a nifty feat. It will sure be a plus for both sides.
Im thrilled that were looking at a potential of only
10 days bridge closure. Thats key, said John Staicer, president
of Historic Madison Inc.
Milton-Madison Bridge rendering.
Project Manager Carr presided over an Oct. 20 informational
meeting held in Madison, during which the steps of the bridge project
were outlined, from construction of temporary bridge approaches through
the movement of the new bridge onto the rehabbed concrete piers. His
presentation focused on public safety and convenience.
Phase 1A: The first construction phase is projected to start in January.
Traffic will be maintained on the existing bridge. Walsh will construct
temporary bridge approaches east of the existing bridge. In Madison,
traffic will be routed along Vaughn Drive and Ferry Street to State
Road 56. In Milton, the temporary access will be built through the Milton
boat ramp parking lot. For the temporary supports, large metal pipes
will be driven into the riverbed just 15 feet downriver from each of
the existing piers. These pipes will support the weight of the new superstructure
as it is built and also the weight of traffic during Phase 3. Existing
bridge piers will be modernized during Phase 1A as well.
ceremony is planned for sometime on the morning of Tuesday, Nov.
30, possibly on the bridge itself, and including Indiana Gov.
Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. From 7-9 p.m.,
several events are planned at the Ohio Theatre, 105 E. Main St.
They include performances by the Madison Bicentennial Band and
showings of the historic 1929 bridge dedication film and a video
of the groundbreaking ceremony held earlier that day.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, an Open House is planned at Madison City
Hall to display a model of the future Milton-Madison Bridge. The
model will be provided by Walsh Construction Co. Construction
information will be provided. For more information on the Milton-Madison
Bridge project, visit: www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.
Phase 1B: In late spring 2011 the bridge will be closed
for five days to connect the temporary bridge approaches to the existing
bridge. Existing bridge spans 3 and 12, at either end of the bridge,
will be removed.
Phase 2: The existing bridge will be re-opened to traffic, using the
temporary bridge approaches. The permanent bridge superstructure will
be built atop the temporary piers. Permanent road and bridge approaches
will be constructed. Temporary tie-in spans will be built.
Phase 3: Traffic will be rerouted onto the new bridge superstructure,
over the temporary bridge piers. The old bridge superstructure will
be dismantled and taken away. Temporary bridge approaches will be removed.
Modernization of the existing bridge piers will be completed.
Phase 4: The second five-day closure will occur in late summer 2012
as the new superstructure is moved into its permanent position.
Phase 4B: The new bridge will be opened to vehicular traffic. By contract,
this will take place by Sept. 15, 2012. Temporary piers will be removed
and the sidewalk will be constructed after the bridge is opened to traffic.
Aside from the start and finish dates, contractors were not prepared
to assign dates to the various phases of construction. A more detailed
timetable will emerge over the next few months as design details are
In addition to Walsh Construction, other contractors on the design-build
team that won the contract are Burgess & Niple Inc., an engineering
firm with offices in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, and Buckland
& Taylor, a bridge engineering firm in Seattle. Buckland & Taylor
has experience designing bridges that slide into place after completion.
Michael Baker Jr. Inc. and Wilbur Smith Associates will continue to
be involved in the project as construction inspectors.
At the Oct. 20 meeting, Carr addressed the question of whether the bridge
will be safe for traffic throughout the construction process.
The answer is an unequivocal yes, he said. There will be nothing
built that we wouldnt let our families ride on, he said.
Weight limits for the temporary bridge have not yet been set.
Charlie Gannon, the Walsh Construction project manager assigned to the
construction site, said the temporary bridge supports will be made of
very large metal pipes, installed vertically. The temporary pilings
will meet all safety standards. Structurally, theyll be
sound but its not anything youd want in the river forever,
The cost of constructing the temporary bridge piers will be less than
the cost of running ferries across the river for a year, which is why
Walsh could underbid its four competitors. No decision has been made
about whether ferries will run during the 10 days of bridge closure.
Aaron Stover, Project Manager with Michael Baker Jr. Inc., said: Walshs
proposal did include ferry service, but because of the dramatically
shortened bridge closure, we are expecting a proposal from Walsh to
eliminate it. It will be up to the states to decide whether or not to
accept the proposal.
expect this is the largest bridge-sliding process
in North America." John Carr, Wilbur Smith Associates
He continued: You keep hearing us refer to this
as a design-build project. What that means is that the design
and construction phases of the project will overlap to save time. Walsh
is busy now developing design plans, so more details on the project
will start to emerge in the coming months.
Trimble Countys Stevens said his 13 years of experience as a welder
and pipe fitter at Dow Corning leads him to believe the temporary bridge
support will be strong. From what Ive heard so far, I have
full confidence that it can work. Im going to use the bridge just
as I use it now, he said.
Stevens continued, I think the key here is to believe in people
who have the education, training and know-how to test temporary structures,
to test load-ratings. I will trust the work of professionals.
Madisons Armstrong agreed, noting that the bridge design and construction
will be approved by three agencies: the Federal Highway Administration,
the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation
Cabinet. If it werent able to be done, they wouldnt
have signed off on it, said Armstrong.
Local residents will soon see signs that work is beginning. Armstrong
reports that Walsh Construction hopes to mobilize the first part of
November. On the Madison side, Jaycee Park is expected to become a staging
area. Additional construction trailers may be placed in the city campground
during the non-camping season.
Stevens said he hopes to offer a hiring office in Trimble County. Many
residents are eager to start work on a new project now that LG&E
has completed the $1.3 billion expansion of its Trimble County power
Armstrong has been pleased with the two-state, non-partisan support
that will get the bridge started in record time. We need to continue
to work together and keep communication open while dealing with
environmental and historic preservation concerns about the construction
plans, he said.
Project manager Carr said, This is one of the fastest projects
Ive been involved with since NEPA came into effect. NEPA
is the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. He said the reason
is the great cooperation among all the partners, including Indiana,
Kentucky and the Federal Highway Administration. The bridge is
in a pretty sorry state. When everybody saw what kind of shape its
in, everybody pulled together to get it done, said Carr.
by Laura Hodges
observations after the
Oct. 20 post-letting informational
meeting in Madison are (from left)
Assistant Project Manager Pat Osborne
of Michael Baker Jr. Inc.; Project
Supervisor Larry Collins of Michael Jr.
Inc.; Project Supervisor Aaron
Stover of Michael Baker Jr. Inc.;
and Project Manager John Carr of
Wilbur Smith Associates.
Staicer said vibration from pile-driving the temporary
bridge supports could cause damage to historic buildings such as the
Key West Shrimp House. The restaurant on Ferry Street was a button factory
in Madisons early days. As plans for the bridge developed, preservation
concerns were addressed through a memorandum of understanding developed
earlier this year under Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act
of 1966. Since the contract with Walsh Construction specifies an unexpected
method of construction, the memorandum of understanding will be renegotiated,
with participation by local parties such as Historic Madison Inc.
As part of the bridge project, Madison had expected to receive $205,000
and Milton $40,000 in marketing funds to mitigate the impact of the
365-day bridge closure. In addition, $80,000 had been earmarked to hire
a historic preservation officer to keep an eye out for local interests.
An additional $80,000 was promised for the Madison Main Street Program.
Now that the bridge is expected to be closed only 10 days, it is unclear
how much mitigation money will be available.
Transportation authorities will continue to update the project website
with new information as it becomes available. It can be accessed at
Meantime, a groundbreaking ceremony has been set for Nov. 30 on the
Madison riverfront. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Gov. Steve
Beshear are expected to join other dignitaries for the event.
Ill be glad to see both governors and the departments of
transportation here. Its something weve been talking about
for 30 years at least, said Mayor Armstrong.
Meanwhile, Stevens said he is looking forward two years to an even happier
moment. There will be no celebration like the celebration we will
have when we have a new, modern, safe bridge between our communities.
Thats when well be able to raise our glasses to a toast
when its all done and over.
He said his prayers will now turn to the things no engineer can control,
such as weather and river level. Hopefully, Mother Nature will
take it easy on us for a while, said Stevens.
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