Milton-Madison Bridge

Dignitaries, area residents
celebrate bridge opening

Governors join the official
community’s ribbon-cutting event

(December 2014) – Just two weeks after celebrating the official ribbon-cutting of the new Milton-Madison Bridge with governors from both Kentucky and Indiana, the Project Team ceased work on the structure due to cold weather until spring 2015.

Photo by Don Ward

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (center) on Oct. 28 join other dignitaries in cutting a ribbon to officially dedicate the newly constructed Milton-Madison Bridge. Walsh Construction Project Manager Charlie Gannon announced immediately after the program that the pedestrian walkway was open.

Crews with Walsh Construction removed the traffic cones from the bridge in early November and reinstated the normal speed limit of 35 mph. With the onset of winter weather, crews are unable to continue the touch-up painting on the truss. As a result, the remaining touch-up work will resume in the spring.
Since the historic slide of the Milton-Madison Bridge this past April, the area has remained an active work zone. Lane restrictions and a 20 mph speed limit were in place while construction workers continued post-slide work, including installation of the new pedestrian sidewalk, truss painting and removal of temporary structures. 

Photo by Don Ward

The Oct. 28 official ribbon-cutting of the Milton-Madison Bridge attracted a large crowd and many dignitaries, including (from left) Kentucky State Sen. Rick Rand of Trimble County, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Indiana Gov. mike Pence, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock and Indiana State Rep. Terry Goodin.

The Milton-Madison Bridge Project – a joint effort between the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet – has received numerous state and national engineering awards for innovation. Most recently, it was named “Project of the Year” for 2014 by the American Society of Highway Engineers Great Lakes Region.
The communities of Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind., gathered at the Brown Gym in Madison on Oct. 28 to dedicate the new bridge. Joining in the celebration were Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, along with many other local and state dignitaries.
Immediately following the ceremony, Walsh Construc-tion Project Manager Charlie Gannon announced that the pedestrian walkway had opened that very day. Dozens of people were spotted walking the bridge in the hours following the ceremony. The five-foot-wide cantilevered path sits on the downstream side of the new bridge, is ADA accessible and allows people to walk or jog between the two communities for the first time in several decades. The sidewalk is only for pedestrian use with the shoulder of the bridge available for bicyclists.

Photos by Don Ward

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (above left)
and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear share a laugh (above right) prior
to the ceremony. Kentucky State
Sen. Rick Rand (below)
poses with 100-year-old Milton resident Reva Webster, who as
a teenager served as a Bridge Princess in 1929 during the opening of the first Milton-Madison Bridge.

The original Milton-Madison Bridge, which opened nearly 85 years ago, did not have a sidewalk, making this a major addition to the new bridge. Those using the walkway will also notice the new Builder’s Plate, attached to the truss at either end of the bridge.
At 2,428 feet long, the Milton-Madison Bridge became the longest bridge in North America — and perhaps the world — to be slid laterally into place when it was moved 55 feet from temporary piers onto refurbished permanent piers in April.
“This beautiful new bridge will serve both Kentucky and Indiana for generations to come,” said Gov. Beshear. “The Milton-Madison Bridge Project demonstrates the spirit of cooperation between our two states that helped foster a truly innovative solution that benefits both communities.”
“The dedication of the Milton-Madison Bridge marks a major milestone for Indiana infrastructure,” said Gov. Pence. “Projects of this scale solidify Indiana’s reputation as the Crossroads of America and showcase our commitment to take care of what we have, finish what we start and plan for the future. I applaud the collaboration between our states and commend the work of all involved in this tremendous achievement for the people of both Indiana and Kentucky.”

Photo courtesy of Charlie Gannon, Walsh Construction’s Project Manager

At the conclusion of the
Milton-Madison Bridge
ribbon-cutting ceremony on
Oct. 28, many people took the opportunity to walk the new pedestrian walkway. The
walkway opened that same
day and has since seen heavy
traffic from eager pedestrians.
They are able to view the
new Builder’s Plates (right)
that have been erected on
each end of the new bridge.

Also participating in the ceremony were former INDOT Commissioner Michael Cline, KIPDA Executive Director Jack Couch, Milton Mayor Denny Jackson, Kentucky State Representative Rick Rand and Madison Mayor Damon Welch. Couch, a Trimble County resident and a former Judge-Executive, served as the program’s emcee.
Couch said he waited a long time for this day. “I have been blessed in my service to the citizens of Trimble County over the last 30 years to finally realize this project is a dream come true. A special thanks to all that kept believing with me as we worked together to make this happen.”
“To say I’m excited would be an understatement,” said Mayor Jackson. “Our community is so grateful for all the hard work from everyone who helped make this new bridge a reality. When the bridge was slid over in April and re-opened to traffic, it was a great day for Milton.”
Representative Rand, co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee, stressed the importance of getting the project funded. “This bridge is literally a lifeline for residents of Trimble County. We as a legislative body were determined that this project got the funding it deserved,” he said. “I’m proud to have been a part of the tremendous effort to make this happen.”
Madison’s Mayor Welch said the bridge is vital to his city. “Madison depends a great deal on tourism and reliable cross-river access is so important. It’s wonderful that we have a new bridge that will help keep this community thriving for another 85 years and beyond.”
Ground was broken on the $103 million project in December 2010. Indiana and Kentucky evenly split the cost of the project, which also benefitted from a $20 million federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant. Work on the new steel truss – at 40-feet wide, nearly twice the size of the original bridge – began in September 2011. The new truss was completed atop temporary piers in December 2012, and traffic was switched to it in spring 2013. The old bridge was demolished that summer in a series of spectacular explosions. Finally, in April of this year, the new bridge was slid from the temporary piers onto its permanent refurbished piers and re-opened to traffic on April 17.
An unexpected closure of the bridge occurred at 2 a.m. on March 11 when a steel bearing dislodged between Pier #2 and the bridge. Four 250-ton jacks were used to repair the bridge. The process took place March 21, and it took nearly 15 hours to complete as the southeast corner of the bridge was raised nearly one foot in order to slide the new bearing into place. During the six-week closure, commuters had to drive around to cross the Ohio River at Markland Dam or downriver in Louisville, Ky., or ride a passenger boat in Madison that was provided free to commuters by the Rockin’ Thunder jet boat company.
The long-anticipated bridge slide took place April 9.

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

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