Long Time Coming
Kentucky, Indiana dignitaries
dedicate the new Milton-Madison
Hundreds join in the celebration
at Madison’s Brown Gym
(Oct. 28, 2014) – The communities of Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind., turned out Oct. 28 at the Brown Gym in Madison, Ind., to join Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence publicly dedicate the new Milton-Madison Bridge. The celebration had originally been scheduled to take place beneath the bridge on the Madison riverfront but was moved inside Tuesday morning due to inclement weather.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (center) on Oct. 28 join other dignitaries in cutting a ribbon to officially dedicate the newly constructed Milton-Madison Bridge. Walsh Construction Project Manager Charlie Gannon announced immediately after the program that the pedestrian walkway was open.
At 2,428 feet long, the Milton-Madison Bridge became the longest bridge in North America — and perhaps the world — to be slid laterally into place when it was moved 55 feet from temporary piers onto refurbished permanent piers in April.
A traditional construction method would have closed the bridge for more than one year. Walsh Construction Co.’s innovative method of building the new bridge greatly reduced closure time by allowing drivers to use the bridge on temporary piers, while the old bridge was demolished and the existing piers were refurbished.
“This beautiful new bridge will serve both Kentucky and Indiana for generations to come,” said Gov. Beshear. “The Milton-Madison Bridge Project demonstrates the spirit of cooperation between our two states that helped foster a truly innovative solution that benefits both communities.”
Photo courtesy of Charlie Gannon,
Project Mgr., Walsh Construction
The new builder’s plate was unveiled Tuesday, Oct. 28, following the Bridge Dedication Ceremony at the Brown Gym. Builder’s plates are located on each end of the bridge on a steel upright on each approach.
“Today’s dedication of the Milton-Madison Bridge marks a major milestone for Indiana infrastructure,” said Gov. Pence. “Projects of this scale solidify Indiana’s reputation as the Crossroads of America and showcase our commitment to take care of what we have, finish what we start and plan for the future. I applaud the collaboration between our states and commend the work of all involved in this tremendous achievement for the people of both Indiana and Kentucky.”
Also participating in today’s ceremony were former INDOT Commissioner Michael Cline, KIPDA Executive Director Jack Couch, Milton Mayor Denny Jackson, Kentucky State Rep. Rick Rand and Madison Mayor Damon Welch.
Couch, who earlier in his career served as Trimble County (Ky.) Judge-Executive, said he waited a long time for this day. “I have been blessed in my service to the citizens of Trimble County over the last 30 years to finally realize this project is a dream come true. A special thanks to all that kept believing with me as we worked together to make this happen.”
“To say I’m excited would be an understatement,” said Jackson. “Our community is so grateful for all the hard work from everyone who helped make this new bridge a reality. When the bridge was slid over in April and re-opened to traffic, it was a great day for Milton.”
Rand, co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee, stressed the importance of getting the project funded. “This bridge is literally a lifeline for residents of Trimble County. We as a legislative body were determined that this project got the funding it deserved. I’m proud to have been a part of the tremendous effort to make this happen.”
Welch said the bridge is vital to his city. “Madison depends a great deal on tourism and reliable cross-river access is so important. It’s wonderful that we have a new bridge that will help keep this community thriving for another 85 years and beyond.”
Ground was broken on the $103 million project in December 2010. Indiana and Kentucky evenly split the cost of the project, which also benefitted from a $20 million federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant. Work on the new steel truss – at 40-feet wide, nearly twice the size of the original bridge – began in September 2011. The new truss was completed atop temporary piers in December 2012 and traffic was switched to it in spring 2013. The old bridge was demolished that summer in a series of spectacular explosions. Finally, in April of this year, the new bridge was slid from the temporary piers onto its permanent refurbished piers and re-opened to traffic on April 17.
Following their remarks, the dignitaries participated in a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
The new bridge also includes an additional feature that was not part of the old bridge: a pedestrian walkway on the downstream side, which opened to the public following the ceremony.
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