Picking Up the Pieces

Riverfront assets on both sides
of Ohio River to be rebuilt
as bridge project ends


(February 2014)
Read previous Don Ward columns!
Don Ward

As the Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement Project nears completion, attention is turning quickly to restoring the riverfronts on both sides of the Ohio River. Officials from the cities of Madison and Milton already have begun discussions with state officials in Indiana and Kentucky, and with Walsh Construction representatives about how to proceed with these initiatives.
Many of the items to be rebuilt are part of the initial construction agreement between the contractor and both cities and states, the federal government and both states’ historic preservation agencies. Recent discussions about these plans have involved the Madison Riverfront Development Committee, Madison Parks Department and the cities of Madison and Milton.
Among the projects are:
• Replacement of the three volleyball courts on the Madison riverfront. Walsh is responsible for rebuilding the volleyball courts via the construction contract. Madison Parks Department Director David Stucker said he has been meeting with local volleyball enthusiasts about how to proceed. Stucker has been tapped by city officials to guide the process along. The Madison Parks Board will have final say on the reconstruction of Members of the Riverfront Development Committee said they also want to provide input on riverfront restoration efforts.


Photo courtesy of Andrew Forrester

Omega Demolition has agreed to give up two of the six sets of bridge “rocker assemblies” that once supported the old Milton-Madison Bridge. One set will go to the Milton Boat Ramp. The other will go to the Madison riverfront.

• Restoration of Madison Jaycee Park, including the picnic shelter, playground equipment, parking lot and two fences that once bordered each end of the basketball court. Walsh already has erected a new picnic shelter near the bridge. A second shelter is planned nearby. Walsh also plans to install new playground equipment and the basketball court fences, as part of the contract. Their construction trailers currently sit on the basketball court and parking lot.
“I’m not sure about the condition of the basketball court, so that may be something the park board will have to look at and possibly upgrade, once the trailers are gone,” Stucker said.
• Vaughn Drive resurfacing near the bridge construction zone. Walsh Construction originally intended to begin paving last December, but the plan was halted by adverse weather conditions. Walsh plans to pour concrete on a short section of the sidewalk on the north side of Vaughn Drive to line up with the handicap ramp that will be poured inside Jaycee Park.


Photo below by Don Ward

Madison may also get to keep the temporary Walsh Construction boat dock, pending U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers approval.

• Reconstruction of the riverfront sidewalk on the south side of Vaughn Drive near the bridge construction zone. Walsh already has replaced bricks in the sidewalk along the south side of Vaughn Drive in all but a small area that is still needed to move its construction equipment to the river. This last area will be restored when the project is complete.
“We are anxious to get the riverfront back to normal, and that includes making everything A.D.A. accessible, with plenty of parking,” Stucker said. He added that he has received input from several citizens wanting a restroom facility and drinking fountain at Jaycee Park. “We have no restrooms at that end of town, so that is something we would like to consider. But it might be too big of a financial burden for the park budget.”
• In Milton, meanwhile, riverfront restoration plans include paving the boat ramp and installing permanent restrooms there, according to Mayor Denny Jackson. The KYTC entered into an agreement with the City of Milton in January 2010 as part of the mitigation efforts there, according to Andrea Clifford, KYTC spokeswoman. Part of this agreement states that KYTC will fund up to $25,000 to build restrooms at the Milton boat ramp. The city will need to hire a contractor to build the restrooms and then submit invoices to the KYTC for reimbursement. Walsh will pave the boat ramp upon completion of the bridge project per the contract.
Extension of the drainage pipe that runs under KY Hwy. 36 has been completed by Walsh. This included cleaning out the existing concrete ditch that runs along the southern and eastern portions of the boat ramp. It also included the placement of rip rap channel protection there. KYTC employees cleaned the existing pipe that runs under KY Hwy. 36 at this location prior to Walsh employees coming in to extend the pipe.


Photo by Don Ward

Once the bridge project is
complete, Walsh Construction
will remove its “causeway” to
the waterfront and replace the
last section of sidewalk
along Vaughn Drive.

Walsh also plans to take one of the nine barge impact frames that is now part of the temporary pier structure holding up the new bridge over to the Milton boat ramp and place it there. It will be repurposed to serve as a boat dock and measures 21x60 feet. Half of it will be in the water and half on the riverbank.
In an unexpected development, Milton resident Debbie Crawford, who serves as the bridge project liaison to Madison for the city of Milton and Trimble County Judge-Executive Jerry Powell, asked for and received two 13,000-pound “bridge rockers” that were part of the old bridge structure. Officials from subcontractor Omega Demolition agreed to give a set of two “rockers” to her and she designated one rocker to go to the city of Madison and the other to Milton. These huge steel structures were used to support the old bridge atop the concrete piers and just beneath the bridge floor.
Walsh Construction has agreed to weld the rockers so that they no longer move. They will pressure wash the rockers and deliver them to each city’s riverfront prior to departing from the project worksite, Crawford said.
The rocker designated for Milton will be situated atop the barge impact frame and provide a place for people to sit, Crawford said.
The rocker designated for Madison will likely be positioned on the riverfront somewhere near the bridge. The exact location has not yet been determined.
Meantime, other negotiations have been developing between Walsh Construction and the Madison Riverfront Development Committee regarding the future use or removal of the temporary construction boat dock just below the bridge that Walsh installed to provide access to the waterfront. Riverfront Committee President Jim Pruett inquired about Walsh leaving the boat dock in place for use by the public after the bridge project is complete. A Walsh official said use of the structure as a permanent dock would require approval from the U.S. Army corps of Engineers.
Andrew Forrester, Community Relations Manager for the City of Madison, said he has been working on submitting a proposal to the Corps to convert the temporary structure into a permanent boat dock. “The city sees value in keeping that for the future, and obviously, it is a benefit to Walsh as well (since they won’t have the expense of removing it),” Forrester said.
Walsh, meanwhile, has asked the Riverfront Development Committee about erecting a plaque or series of bricks on the riverfront somewhere near the bridge to commemorate its work there. Walsh wants to offer an opportunity to its many subcontractors, unions and even individual workers to purchase bricks that would be part of this commemorative structure. At the January meeting of the Riverfront Development Committee, members said they were uneasy about changing the brick buying program to accommodate Walsh’s request, however, they were open to working out an arrangement that would suit both parties. Another option might be to erect Walsh’s commemorate bricks or a plaque at the site of the bridge rocker that will be delivered to the Madison riverfront, officials said.
A Walsh official said there was nothing in the contract about creating and erecting a bridge builder’s plate, similar to the one removed from the old bridge before its demolition. Walsh has no plans to erect a builder’s plate on the new bridge, he said.

• Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout. Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email: Don@RoundAbout.bz.

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