Milton-Madison Bridge

Construction on bridge continues
despite recent rain and flooding

First of two, five-day closures
expected in late spring

By Don Ward

December rain has brought the fourth flooding event of 2011, further hampering efforts to build the new Milton-Madison Bridge superstructure and rehabilitate the existing piers.
Beginning last April, Walsh Construction officials have faced continued difficulty staying on schedule, despite being given a 60-day extension to the construction contract last spring. This is turning out to be one of the wettest years on record. The mid-December high water event began on Nov. 23 and lasted several weeks. Despite the high water, numerous project activities are continuing.

Bridge Truss

Photo by Don Ward

Construction is progressing on
the new truss, above, for the
Milton-Madison Bridge over the
Ohio River. Below, work continues
on the existing piers. The new
bridge is expected to be
finished by the end of 2012.

Bridge Pier

Design work and steel fabrication for the 600-foot truss are under way. Steel shipments are being recieved at the Milton, Ky., construction site, with some preassembly occurring in the work yard. Work is also continuing on the construction of temporary approach ramps being built to connect with the existing bridge on both sides of the river.
Sustained flooding has impacted the ability to work in certain areas of the project. After several weeks of delay, work has resumed on preassembly of the truss bridge, pier strengthening and construction of the temporary towers that will hold the new superstructure while the old one is demolished. After demolition, the new superstructure will be slid into place atop the strengthened, refurbished and widened existing piers.
Other ongoing construction activities include:
• Debris cleanup is taking place at all the temporary structures on both sides of the river.
• Barrier railing is being installed on the temporary ramp in Madison.
• Preparations for construction continue on the temporary towers that will support the new truss bridge.
• Workers continue to dive piling for the temporary towers that will support the new truss bridge.
• Steel shipments continue to arrive for the new truss bridge.
• Flood waters spilled into the top opening of the cofferdams that had been constructed around the piers. Once water is pumped from the cofferdams, pier reinforcement will continue at several locations. Workers are encasing the piers in a two-foot-thick concrete “jacket” to help strengthen them to hold a new bridge deck that will be twice as wide as the current ones.

Bridge Ramp

Photo by Don Ward

The temporary ramp in Milton is
taking shape. Temporary ramps
on both sides if the river will soon
be connected to the existing bridge.

• Workers are erecting a 600-foot section of the truss bridge on barges at the Milton shoreline. A second 730-foot section will also be built this way and each section will be floated out into the river and lifted into place atop the temporary supports to be erected just a few feet away and on the downriver side of the existing bridge. The remaining steel truss sections of the new bridge will be built in the air, Walsh officials said.
• Temporary ramp construction continues in Madison while the dirt fill settles on the Milton ramp. A steel structure to support the ramp has been built on the Madison side, but the archaeology of the riverbank on the Milton side prevented workers from using steel pylons there. A dirt embankment was instead used.
The project team plans to review the project schedule and look for ways to make up some time in the coming months, officials said. As of late December, no decision had been made about further extensions to the contract. Walsh Construction had initially hoped to complete the project sometime in fall 2012. The first of two five-day closures had been planned for late spring 2012, to attach the temporary ramps to the existing bridge, and again at the end of the project to connect new, wider approach ramps to the new bridge once it has been slid into place.

• For more information on the project, visit: www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.

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