Connecting Two States — Another Ohio River Bridge Project

Milton Madison Bridge ProjectWhile the Ohio River Bridges Project has been getting most of the local publicity, another important bridge project is ongoing just up the river between Milton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana. In fact, the $131 million dollar Milton-Madison Bridge Project – a joint effort between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) – will soon be completed. This project is a new bridge, using elements of an older span that was completed in 1929, less just months after the stock market crash that started Great Depression. Eight decades and millions of vehicle crossings later, the bridge had deteriorated to the point that it needed to be replaced.

In 2008, KYTC and INDOT launched the Milton-Madison Bridge Project to replace the aging structure. Ironically, during the Great Recession of 2009, federal stimulus funding became available for infrastructure projects, which INDOT and KYTC aggressively pursued, obtaining a $20 million grant toward the cost of replacing the bridge. Ground was broken in November of 2010. State and federal funding have been identified for the remaining cost of the project, which is being evenly split. The project has been estimated to have created or preserved 1,400 jobs.

Innovative construction methods include the building of a new truss bridge on temporary piers alongside the existing bridge, which has allowed the bridge to stay open during construction. As the old bridge is demolished, the new truss will be slid onto the existing piers, which are being strengthened for reuse. The new bridge will look similar to the older span’s steel truss design, but will include wider lanes and be able to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians.

The Milton-Madison Bridge was named one of the top 10 bridge projects in the country in 2011 by Roads and Bridges Magazinereceived a 2012 Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science Magazine, and received several state and national engineering awards for innovation.

Interestingly enough, when the original bridge opened in 1929, drivers were required to pay a 45 cent toll and pedestrians a nickel, for crossing the Ohio. The new bridge is scheduled to be open later this year.

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