U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood joined Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear on the Indiana shore of the Ohio River on Nov. 30 to break ground for a new Milton-Madison Bridge, an innovative project, years ahead of schedule and millions under budget.
A new steel truss bridge will replace the aged span—opened in 1929—that connects the two states at Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind.
“A bridge, by definition, transcends an obstacle that would otherwise divide people, communities—even entire states,” said Gov. Beshear. “It was a great day 81 years ago when the current Milton-Madison Bridge was opened, and the obstacle of a great river was overcome. This is another great day as we break ground for a new bridge that will serve both our states for generations to come.”
“This is a project the community has been seeking for decades, and I’m really proud of both states for providing not just a way to get it done, but in such an ingenious way,” Gov. Daniels said. “It will be done years ahead of schedule and less expensively than previously thought. And the best thing for the towns on both sides of the river is that traffic will be disrupted for less than two weeks rather than a year.”
The $103 million bridge will be completed by Sept. 15, 2012, using innovative design and construction methods. The existing steel truss superstructure—too narrow for modern traffic at just 20 ft wide—will be replaced with a new, 40-ft-wide truss and road deck. The new superstructure will be constructed on temporary downstream piers, then “slid” along steel rails into place atop the existing piers, which will be strengthened. Planned bridge closures during construction total 10 days, far less than the originally anticipated 365-day closure. Once completed, the new bridge will lie within the footprint of the existing bridge, which carries U.S. 421 over the Ohio River.
Kentucky and Indiana have worked in partnership to build a new bridge, with invaluable support from the Federal Highway Administration.
The project was awarded a $20 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The deteriorating Madison-Milton Bridge has an estimated remaining useful life of less than 10 years. The new bridge will be similar in appearance and will feature accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians. The 3,181-ft-long bridge is the only crossing on a 72-mile stretch of the Ohio River between Louisville, Ky., and Vevay, Ind.
More information about the project can be found at www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.