First closure for Milton-Madison Bridge April 25-29

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The first brief closure of the U.S. 421 Milton-Madison Bridge by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet began 12:01 a.m. April 25 and will last through April 29.

During the closure, project contractor Walsh Construction Co. will work around the clock to demolish the existing bridge approaches and connect temporary ramps in Milton and Madison, Ind. to the bridge.

“We’re moving ahead with the bridge closure as planned,” said KYTC Project Manager Andy Barber. “As of today, the forecast calls for some rain on Wednesday, but otherwise it looks good for construction activities.”                                                                

Construction Activity

The removal of the bridge approaches — including the concrete road deck and supporting steel structure — will involve the use of a heavy hydraulic demolition hammer and controlled explosives that are expected to generate higher-than-usual noise levels.

“We apologize in advance for any inconvenience regarding the noise levels, especially that first night,” said INDOT Project Manager Kevin Hetrick. “But it’s necessary for the contractor to work 24 hours a day to keep the bridge closure to just a few days as opposed to the one year that we were initially facing.”

Traffic changes, restrictions

During the closure, drivers will detour to the Markland Locks and Dam Bridge, 26 miles upstream, or Louisville, 46 miles downstream. A ferry service will be provided to take emergency medical vehicles between the Milton boat ramp near Ferry St. and the temporary Ferry St. landing in Madison.

Once the bridge reopens, a 36-foot vehicle length restriction will be in place due to the limited turn radius of the temporary ramps. The existing 3-ton weight limit for the bridge will remain in place.

The following traffic changes will take effect when the bridge reopens:

• In Madison, the intersection of state Route 56 and Ferry Street will convert to a three-way stop.

• A three-way stop will be placed at Ferry Street and Vaughn Drive in Madison.

• In Milton, northbound traffic from U.S. 421 onto the temporary ramp leading to the bridge will be free-flowing with no stop signs.

• There will be a stop sign at the end of the temporary ramp in Milton for southbound traffic.

• There will be a stop sign for vehicles traveling from the Milton boat ramp onto Ferry St.

• There will be a stop sign for vehicles on Hwy. 36 at the intersection with Ferry St in Milton.

• Ferry service will be provided during the closure to transport emergency service vehicles across the Ohio River. The Milton boat ramp will be closed for public access during this time.

Project Background

The replacement of the narrow and deteriorating Milton-Madison Bridge originally entailed a year-long bridge closure. But due to innovative design and construction methods, the bridge remains open during construction for all but a total of 10 days. Once complete, the new wider bridge will lie within the existing footprint.

Using a method called “truss sliding,” the new 2,400-foot-long steel truss bridge will be built on temporary piers and slid into place on top of the existing piers which are being strengthened to meet modern standards.  Construction began in early 2011 and is expected to be complete in 2013.

Named one of the Top 10 bridge projects in the country by Roads & Bridges Magazine, and the recipient of several state and national engineering awards, the Milton-Madison Bridge Project is a bi-state effort between INDOT and KYTC. For more information, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.