Completed Truss

Workers complete steel truss
portion of Milton-Madison Bridge

Paving of entry ramps,
road deck now under way

Staff Report

(January 2013) – The Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement Project reached another milestone on Dec. 19 when the last steel beam was lifted into place on the new truss bridge. The final steel beam went up on the Madison end of the 2,427-foot-long truss, marking the completion of the steel superstructure portion of the project.
A “topping out ceremony” (the placement of the final beam, called the portal strut, on the new truss bridge) took place on Dec. 19 with the completion of the final beam on the truss. This typically involves a lot of cheering from the crew, the placement of a flag and a small evergreen tree atop the truss.  
But with the truss – or steel framework – still sitting on temporary piers, there are several crucial steps that must take place before the new bridge is complete in mid-summer 2013. Workers are busy bolting up spans 1 and 4.
Following the mid-December delay caused by high river levels, scour protection work will resume in January at piers 3, 4, and 5. Scour is caused by swiftly moving water past the piers and can cause erosion.


Photos by Don Ward

Above, the second-to-last beam goes up on the Milton-Madison Bridge truss Dec. 19. The final beam above it was set into place later that day. Below, paving is under way of the Milton temporary ramp to the new bridge.

Ramp Paving

All but 12 feet of concrete had been poured on the Madison approach by mid December. The rest is expected to be poured soon. Concrete pouring began in late December on a portion of the Milton approach. Crews will also complete curb and island work on U.S. 421 in Milton near Coopers Bottom Rd.
With the exception of a small crew tasked with monitoring concrete curing and maintenance of the temporary ramps and bridge deck, construction on the project was halted between Dec. 22 and Jan. 2.
Construction on the new 7,230-ton steel truss began in September 2011. With the truss complete, workers now turn their attention to building the bridge road deck by placing the formwork and 484-tons of reinforcing steel. Preparations for the bridge deck are expected to take place over the next several months, concluding with the concrete placement in the spring. Cold weather construction methods will be used when pouring the bridge deck in cooler temperatures.
“Right now, anyone driving through the area will see two bridges sitting side by side, about 17 feet apart,” said Kevin Hetrick, Project Manager for the Indiana Department of Transportation. “Sometime in 2013, we’ll remove the old truss off of the existing bridge and slide this new truss onto the existing piers, which are being rehabbed and reused.”
As it has for all but a few days during construction, the existing bridge remains open to traffic, with a 3-ton weight limit and 36-foot vehicle length restriction.
“People ask us on a regular basis why we’re building the bridge in this complex manner,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Project Manager Dav Kessinger. “The answer is simple: replacing the bridge using this unique method has allowed us to keep the existing bridge open during construction, which is vitally important to people living in that area.”
The Milton-Madison Bridge Project – a joint effort between INDOT and KYTC – has received numerous awards. It was named one of the top 10 bridge projects in the country by Roads & Bridges Magazine, received a 2012 Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science magazine and has received several state and national engineering awards for innovation. For more information, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com or follow the project on Twitter.

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