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Weight limited lowered on Milton-Madison bridge

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By DAVE TAYLOR

The Trimble Banner

Law enforcement agencies from Kentucky and Indiana are posted at each end of the Milton-Madison Bridge to strictly enforce the new 3-ton weight limit.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet lowered the posted weight limit for the bridge from 15 tons to three tons based on new inspections that showed continued deterioration of the 82-year-old bridge.

Results of the latest inspection were detailed during a meeting with law enforcement and emergency management officials from Trimble and Carroll counties at the Trimble County Extension Office on Thursday. Representatives from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Louisville District and Walsh Construction, the company currently constructing the replacement bridge, discussed the necessity of keeping heavier vehicles from negotiating the bridge.

“Enforcement of the 3-ton weight limit is necessary to alleviate stress on the Milton-Madison Bridge and keep it open to passenger vehicles,” Matt Bullock, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways, Louisville District, said. “We appreciate the assistance of enforcement agencies from Indiana and Kentucky to help preserve this structure for passenger vehicles while the new bridge is being built.”

Only vehicles weighing less than 3 tons will be allowed to cross the bridge. This “total vehicle weight” includes any attached loads or trailers. Transportation Cabinet officials encourage motorists to search the Web to find their vehicle’s curb weight, which is the actual weight of the vehicle without passengers or cargo. Any Internet search engine, with search terms “curb weight” and vehicle name, should yield the information.

Vehicles weighing over 3 tons will be turned back and must take an alternate route to cross the Ohio River. One vehicle pulling a trailer loaded with an automobile was observed crossing the bridge early Tuesday with law enforcement in pursuit. Signs have been updated on regional routes to alert motorists to the lower weight restriction.

Special provisions have been coordinated with law enforcement and emergency service agencies to provide access for ambulances. Law enforcement in Kentucky will radio ahead to counterparts on the Indiana side to stop traffic and close the bridge in the event an ambulance needs to transport a patient to King’s Daughters’ Hospital in Madison. This routine is intended only for emergency situations. Once the ambulance has negotiated the length of the bridge, normal traffic will be allowed to resume.

For Carroll County EMS, it means a trip through Vevay.

“Our ambulance people have been instructed to go by the bridge at Markland Dam if there is an emergency in Carroll County requiring transport to KDH in Madison,” Emergency Services Director Ed Webb said.

The 3-ton weight limit will remain in place while traffic is using the existing bridge.

The weight limit will be increased to 15 tons once traffic is switched to a new bridge in its temporary alignment near the end of 2012. Once the new bridge is open in its permanent alignment, the weight restrictions will be removed.

Construction began in early 2011 to replace the 20-foot-wide Milton-Madison Bridge. A new, 2,400-foot-long steel truss bridge will be built on temporary piers, then slid into place on the existing piers, which are being strengthened to meet modern standards. Once complete, the new wider bridge will lie within the footprint of the existing bridge.