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By LORRIE KINKADE
The Trimble Banner
A new bridge spanning the Ohio River between Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind., is another step closer to fruition.
Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Indiana Department of Transportation announced yesterday, Aug. 26, that a "notice of intent" to proceed with the project was filed with the federal government Aug. 14, officially kicking off the project.
John Carr, vice president of Wilbur Smith Associates, the engineering firm selected to oversee the project, said Tuesday that 13 firms have been selected to play key roles in developing and implementing the plan to replace the outdated structure.
“All 13 consultants are in place, the federal notice of intent was filed Aug. 14, traffic counts were conducted last week … and a survey will begin this week or next,” he said.
Carr said Indiana and Kentucky officials have agreed their goal, at this point, is to focus on connecting Indiana State Hwy. 56 to Kentucky State Hwy. 36, rather than connecting the bridge to U.S. 421 at the Milton hilltop as some had suggested.
“Nothing is being ruled out at this time, but we are concentrating on connecting [highways] 56 to 36, while keeping in mind future development that could link other highways to the bridge,” he said.
Carr said a Project Advisory Group will be formed, consisting of business and property owners, government officials and others who are willing to donate their time in communicating the wishes of the community to project developers. PAG members will assist in gathering suggestions from the general population and relaying that information to officials working on the design plans.
“Government officials will have forums to voice their opinions and concerns. We are looking for people outside government who will help be the voice of their neighbors, and also take information back to those neighbors,” he said. “We want everyone to have a voice in this.”
Carr said Trimble County Judge-Executive Randy Stevens and Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong have been asked to submit nominations for PAG; members will be selected next month. The group is supposed to begin meeting in October. Public meetings are expected to begin in February; construction is likely to begin by late 2011 or early 2012.