of history making Bridge Project
governors, U.S. Transportation Secretary
join in groundbreaking ceremony in Madison
(January 2011) For the next two years beginning
in January 2011, residents and visitors to Milton, Ky., and Madison,
Ind., will witness an engineering feat taking place across the Ohio
River. The Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement Project already has garnered
the attention of architects and engineers and trade publications around
the country. Soon, it will become the focal point of everyday life for
local drivers making the 3/4-mile-long crossing over the river as they
watch the new bridge take shape.
Local officials, two governors and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray
LaHood celebrated the official groundbreaking of the project Nov. 30
with hundreds of area residents at the Brown Gym in Madison. The occasion
included speeches and ceremonial photographs of dignitaries posing with
shovels in front of a huge banner proclaiming: Move that bridge!
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear also took
part in the celebration.
These two governors stepped up and worked together to make a difference
in their two states, said LaHood in praising the cooperative spirit
that he said has made the project possible. He also praised U.S. Rep.
Baron Hill of Indiana whom he credited for requesting and pushing for
the $20 million in federal stimulus money that was granted to help pay
for the project.
You can rest assured that your tax dollars are being used in this
project to fix an aging infrastructure and put people to work, and it
was all done in a bipartisan way.
What began only two years ago with public hearings and meetings to explore
the location of a new bridge across the Ohio River has already resulted
in the launch of work to actually build a new bridge atop existing piers.
bridge pier strengthening: January - September 2011.
2. Temporary approach ramps built on Vaughn Drive in Madison and
KY Hwy. 36 in Milton: April - July 2011.
3. Bridge closes for five days while traffic is shifted onto temporary
ramps: mid-July 2011.
4. Construction of downstream piers: late July - November 2011.
5. Permanent approaches are built: July - November 2011.
6. New truss is assembled on downstream piers: September 2011
- May 2012.
7. Traffic is rerouted to downstream bridge: May 2012.
8. Existing truss is demolished: May - July 2012.
9. Widening of existing piers: July- early September 2012.
10. Bridge closes for five days in September 2012 while truss
11. Bridge re-opens to traffic in early September 2012.
Whats more amazing is the unique method by which
winning contractor Walsh Construction Co. of La Porte, Ind., will get
the $103 million job done and at roughly 20 percent less than
the original estimate of $131 million. The companys proposal to
build the new superstructure on temporary piers to be erected 15 feet
downstream from the existing bridge and then slide the new steel structure
into place atop the existing piers is being hailed as a miracle. Thats
because the four other bidders on the project planned to shut down the
existing bridge for up to a year during the project, forcing area commuters
to cross the river aboard a ferry service. Prior to that, the local
business community had been bracing for the worst. Students and workers
who must cross the river each day for school or work dreaded what could
have been a long wait. No one knew what to expect.
But Walsh teamed with two other companies to propose only 10 total days
of bridge closure during the two-year-long project five
days in July 2011 and five days in fall 2012.
Crisis averted. But can they deliver on their promise? That is a question
many in the community are wondering.
Now all eyes are on the river as the long-awaited construction process
begins and area officials scramble to re-assess their plans to offset
any negative economic impacts the project might create. A tentative
construction scheduled was released in early December, providing answers
to many questions about the project.
A public information meeting has been scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the new Milton Elementary School to present an
overview and update of the bridge design-build project and all recent
changes to the plan since Walsh Construction Co. was awarded the contract.
Preliminary work began in December as soil sampling took place on both
sides of the river in preparation for the construction of temporary
ramps to route traffic onto the existing bridge from the east. Meantime,
trailers were brought and set up at Jaycee Park at the Madison riverfront
to serve as the offices for Walsh Construction Co.
In December, four large trenches were dug on the east side of the existing
bridge on the Milton side that was part of preliminary archaeology work
that must precede construction.
In the initial stages of the project, traffic will be diverted onto
the existing bridge via a ramp to be built at the Milton Boat Dock.
The bridge will be closed for approximately five days in July 2011 to
re-route traffic onto new ramps to be built on both sides of the river.
On the Milton side, a construction staging area is being prepared near
the water pumping tower just west of the existing bridge. Walsh Construction
Co. plans to build the new steel superstructure on barges that will
be moored there.
have every confidence that Walsh Construction is going to do what
they say theyre going to do."
John Carr, Wilbur Smith Associates
Beginning in July 2011, work will begin to strengthen
and widen the tops of the existing piers to eventually hold the new
superstructure. From July to November 2011, temporary piers will be
erected in the river on the west, or downriver, side of the existing
bridge. The new superstructure will then be mounted on the temporary
piers and in May 2012 traffic will be diverted onto the downstream bridge
while the existing bridge superstructure is demolished. Small explosives
will likely be used to detach the existing superstructure from the piers
in sections, allowing them to fall into the river. The sections of old
bridge will be collected by crane and hauled to the scrapyard.
Then the downstream bridge will close for five days in fall 2012 as
the bridge-sliding process occurs. It will move so slowly 50
feet in five days that the motion will not even be visible to
the naked eye. When finished, the new bridge is scheduled to open to
traffic in September 2012, according to the terms of the contract.
Aaron Stover, project manager for Michael Baker Engineering, which is
overseeing the construction by Walsh, said the temporary piers will
be comprised of steel pipes and columns. They wont be real
attractive but they will serve the purpose. They will be designed for
safety to withstand weather and wind and traffic. We only call them
temporary piers because of their duration in use; not because of structural
integrity or ability to withstand traffic.
by Don Ward
Gov. Steve Beshear displays
a framed photo of the Milton-Madison
Bridge taken by Madison photographer
Theresa Strohl. The photo won a recent
Bridge Art Contest. State Rep. Rick
Rand (right) of Bedford, Ky.,
presented the photo to him following
the Groundbreaking Ceremony held
Nov. 30 at the Brown Gym in Madison.
John Carr, consultant with Wilber Smith Associates, which
has overseen the project, said he was pleased with the community support
he has encountered throughout the process and praised local officials
for working together to make it happen.
Ive been involved in consulting for bridge building for
40 years and this is the fastest bridge project Ive seen in all
of those years, he said Its also the most innovative
approach to building a bridge.
As for any public concerns about the reality of a 10-day closure or
the use of the unique bridge-sliding approach, Carr said, I have
every confidence that Walsh Construction is going to do what they say
theyre going to do.
Meantime, web cameras will be positioned near the bridge on the Madison
side to record the construction project from beginning to end. The images
will be broadcast on the projects official website: www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.
The project is expected to attract architects and engineers from around
the world to watch the bridge-sliding take place, Carr said. Both the
demolition of the old bridge into the river and the bridge-sliding of
the new superstructure are expected to attract hundreds of spectators
from the region to witness the history making event.
That will really be something to see in itself, he said.
In fact, local officials are proposing yet another bridge kickoff event
when the downstream bridge opens to traffic to provide excitement and
convey a message that the temporary bridge is safe.
This is a monumental event in our history, and we need to plan
another event to mark the opening of the temporary bridge to help offset
any concerns about safety, said Jan Vethrus. We need to
come up with some type of publicity stunt. Vethrus heads the bridge
mitigation committee that has been meeting monthly to help manage the
economic impacts to the two communities and oversee the use of marketing
money to be provided by the project.
Jan. 3, part of Vaughn Drive in Madison will be closed between
Ferry Street and St. Michael's Avenue. Workers will be mobilizing
equipment to be used for approaches and causeway construction. The
closure will remain until the completion of the bridge project
in late 2012. The official detour will be approximately seven
blocks long and will use Ferry Street, State Road 56 (S.R. 56),
Second Street and St. Michaels Avenue.
The downstream piers will be designed to modern standards
for wind, earthquake and barge impacts. Motorists will be diverted
to the downstream bridge for a period of approximately four months.
It has not yet been determined whether there will be truck weight
limits on the downstream bridge.
During construction, small controlled explosives may
be used during the removal of the existing bridge truss from the
concrete piers. The explosives will be used to cut the steel truss,
allowing it to fall in the river in sections. The truss sections
will be removed from the water with a crane and loaded onto a
barge and hauled away to a scrapyard. The project team will not
take any risks that would damage the new downstream truss or renovated
Archaeological work in Milton is ongoing where the
eventual temporary ramp to the existing bridge will be constructed.
Some minor pre-historic artifacts were found.
Bridge construction will be captured on a live Internet
webcam and broadcast on the project's website: www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.
It has not yet been determined where the webcam will be erected.
Time-lapse photos will be taken every 15 minutes and posted online.
An arrangement is being finalized for the bridge project
to pay for surveying a shorter race course for the Madison Regatta
to be held over the next two years west of the bridge. Instead
of a 2 1/2 mile course that takes the Unlimited hydroplanes under
the bridge, the temporary course will likely be two miles and
turn just short of the bridge.
A public information meeting has been scheduled from
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the new Milton Elementary
School to present an overview and update of the bridge design-build
project and all recent changes to the plan since Walsh Construction
Co. was awarded the contract.
Interviews with project team and INDOT officials
Linda Lytle, executive director of the Madison Area Convention
and Visitors Bureau, said her office has been getting dozens of calls
from people asking one of two questions: When is the bridge closing?
And will this temporary bridge be safe for crossing?
We have a challenge ahead to educate the public that the bridge
is not closed and that the temporary bridge will be safe, she
said. We wish we were advertising something about it right now.
Madison Main Street Program Executive Director Rhonda Deeg said, Theres
lots of confusion out there right now about the bridge, so we have our
work cut out for us. We need to get started soon.
At a Dec. 7 meeting at Clifty Inn, bridge consultants and representatives
from various local agencies ironed out a revised economic mitigation
agreement that offers little change to the original plan, including
the provision of $405,000 in economic aid to the community over two
The plans keeps intact the following
$205,000 in marketing money for the City of Madison.
$40,000 in marketing money for the City of Milton
$80,000 over two years for Madison Main Street Program to assist
local businesses via promotions, seminars and other related activities.
$80,000 over two years to hire a Historic Preservation Officer
to work on grants and other assistance for improvements to the Madison
One major change to the agreement is the cancellation of a 24-hour a
day, two-vessel public ferry service that was projected to cost $5 million.
Instead, a ferry boat may be provided for emergency vehicles only.
During that meeting it was confirmed by INDOT officials and bridge consultants
that expenditure of the mitigation marketing money could begin immediately,
since the contract allows for it to be spent eight months prior to any
bridge closure. Any money spent will be reimbursed later up to the pre-approved
funding levels for each community. Madison plans to use about $70,000
of its economic mitigation money to complete the marketing component
of the citys Branding Project that began a year ago, Lytle said.
A separate Branding Committee is meeting monthly to guide those plans
and coordinate marketing efforts with the re-opening of the new bridge
in 2012, she said.
by Don Ward
large group of dignitaries took part in the Milton-Madison Bridge
Groundbreaking Ceremony Nov. 30 by donning shovels and posing
in front of a large banner that read: Move That Bridge.
From left they are Indiana State Rep. Dave Cheatham; Milton Mayor
Denny Jackson; Jack Couch, executive director of the Kentucky
Council of Area Development Districts; Michael Hancock, Kentucky
Transportation Cabinet Secretary; INDOT Commissioner Michael Cline;
Kentucky State Rep. Rick Rand; Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear; Indiana
Gov. Mitch Daniels; U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood;
Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong; Trimble County Judge-Executive Randy
Stevens; and U.S. Rep. Baron Hill of Indiana.
The bridge mitigation committee met Dec. 17 to begin planning
its marketing campaign. The City of Milton, meanwhile, has undergone
a recent change in leadership and it is not yet determined who will
oversee the towns bridge spending activity, according to Mayor
Denny Jackson. In December, he appointed Milton resident Debbie Crawford
to represent Milton on the bridge mitigation committee. Lytle announced
at the Dec. 7 meeting that her office has offered assistance to Milton
in managing the spending of its marketing money. But Carr said that
arrangement has not been accepted by Milton officials.
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