When the Indiana Department of Transportation opened the bids on Sept. 22 for constructing the Milton-Madison Bridge replacement, they discovered that one of the teams had cut the needed bridge closure from 365 days to 10.
Residents of Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind., were elated when they learned that the contractor would complete replacement of their 80-year-old bridge with such a short closure.
“The two communities had been bracing for a 365-day closure, and now the closure period is going to be 10 days,” John L. Carr, P.E., vice president of Wilbur Smith, consultant to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, told Roads & Bridges. “That’s pretty remarkable. They’re ecstatic about it.”
Without the bridge, 13,000 vehicles a day would have to find a different route over the Ohio River. The bridge is used mostly by local residents, who faced a 50-mile detour each way without the Milton-Madison Bridge.
Walsh Construction Co. of Indiana, based in LaPorte, is the chosen contractor for the project’s design-build team. Walsh was announced as the contract winner on Sept. 28 (after our feature article “Historic repeated” on p 44 was finished). Walsh is teaming with lead designer Burgess & Niple Engineers, Columbus, Ohio, and Buckland and Taylor Ltd. of North Vancouver, B.C.
Walsh submitted a bid of $103 million, which is not only 20% less than the original construction estimate but also the only proposal that closed the bridge for less than a year.
Walsh planned to break ground on Nov. 30 and have the bridge ready to open to traffic by Sept. 15, 2012.
The project involves replacing the superstructure of the bridge, which carries U.S. 421 over the Ohio River connecting the towns of Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind.
Walsh proposed to construct the new superstructure on a site near the existing bridge, then position it near temporary piers next to the existing bridge. The new truss will then be lifted into place on the temporary piers.
Traffic will be shifted to the new bridge along temporary approach roads.
The old bridge will then be demolished.
Finally, Walsh will slide the new 3,184-ft-long truss along steel rails using hydraulic jacks onto the newly reinforced old piers.
The bridge will be closed for just 10 days: five to construct temporary approaches from U.S. 421 to the temporary bridge location and five to slowly and deliberately slide the new bridge into place on the reinforced piers.
Buckland & Taylor has some experience with truss sliding, having designed the similar Old Capilano Bridge replacement in North Vancouver.
“I can’t speak for the Transportation Cabinet,” said Carr, “but I think the design-build process in this particular situation was extremely effective.”