Critical crossing

Kentucky officials announce
kickoff of bridge study

Two communities are united
in effort to get bridge built

Staff Report

(September 2008) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation on Aug. 26 announced the kickoff of the Milton-Madison Bridge Study. The project will examine the need for the rehabilitation or replacement of the aging U.S. Hwy. 421 span with an affordable Ohio River bridge that safely connects the historic communities of Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind.

Madison Milton Bridge

Photo by Don Ward

The Ohio River Bridge spans nearly
one mile between Milton, Ky.,
and Madison, Ind.

“We are united with our friends in Milton when it comes to getting the bridge issue resolved. We plan on moving forward together,” said Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong.  
Approximately 10,000 vehicles cross the narrow 79-year-old bridge each day. KYTC inspections have found the bridge to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete; it is too narrow to handle today’s trucks. The nearest bridges to Milton and Madison are 46 miles downstream in Louisville and 26 miles upstream near Vevay, Ind.
The Milton-Madison Bridge Project will be managed with sensitivity to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s new “Practical Solutions” initiative, which calls for renewed financial scrutiny of road and bridge projects without compromising safety.
“We will continuously evaluate the cost of this project as it progresses to make sure it remains financially feasible,” said Rob Martin, KYTC project manager for the Milton-Madison Bridge Project.  
The Milton-Madison Bridge Study will take approximately three years and $5 million to complete the preliminary design and environmental studies.  
The goals for the initial phases of the project are:
• Selection of a bridge location;
• Identification of an affordable bridge type;
• Completion of a federal environmental study.
As with any major project that receives federal funding, the Milton-Madison Bridge Project must comply with certain federal regulations. The National Environmental Policy Act requires that the impact on the human and natural environment be considered in the decision-making process.  
“One of our main goals over the next few years is to prepare a NEPA study and get it approved,” said Steve Smith, INDOT’s Milton-Madison Bridge Project manager. “The project doesn’t move forward without it.”  
When possible, the Milton-Madison Bridge Project will build upon a 1995 study of the U.S. Hwy. 421 bridge conducted by KYTC and INDOT. Since no consensus on a new bridge location could be reached in the study, the decision was made to invest $10 million in improvements to the existing bridge.
“We did a rehab on the bridge in 1997. It put a Band-Aid on the problem and now it’s time to do this thing right,” explained Trimble County Judge-Executive Randy Stevens.
The approach to the Milton-Madison Bridge Project will be guided by the need to address the important issue of historic resources on both sides of the Ohio River. In 2006, the downtown area of Madison was designated a National Historic Landmark District. Milton, founded in 1789, is one of the oldest towns in the Commonwealth and has two designated historic districts.  
The project will involve the communities of Milton and Madison through public meetings, the first of which will be held in early 2009. A local Project Advisory Group will provide input to the decision-making process by KYTC and INDOT. The group will consist of representatives for property owners, various interest groups and community leaders.
KYTC is the lead agency in this bi-state effort. Wilbur Smith Associates of Lexington, Ky., was chosen by both states to provide the consultant engineering and environmental services for this project. WSA will lead a team of 13 firms to complete this project.
The project website, www.miltonmadisonbridge.com, is under construction. Once established, it will house project updates, meeting information and public documents.

Back to September 2008 Articles.



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