Work to close Milton-Madison Bridge for five days

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 24, 2012) – The first brief closure of the US 421 Milton-Madison Bridge by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. on April 25 and last through April 29.

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

The schedule of activity during the closure is dependent on weather, but tentatively includes:

 Wednesday, April 25

12:01 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Barricades go up. Removal of bridge deck on approach spans in Madison and Milton. Removal of approach span truss structure using explosive charges to sever steel.

12 p.m. to 12 a.m. — Debris removal. Steel pile driving for the temporary ramp in Madison.

Thursday, April 26

12 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Continued ramp work, including setting beams, bracing, timbers and concrete barrier railing. Load testing experiment by Purdue University on a 150-foot approach span at the north end of the bridge.

6 p.m. to 12 a.m. — Various activities on Madison temporary ramp.

Friday, April 27

12 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Continued work on temporary ramps in both Milton and Madison.

6 p.m. to 12 a.m. — Paving work on both ramps.

Saturday, April 28

Continued paving on both ramps. Sign installation.

Various activities in preparation for reopening.

Sunday, April 29

Final preparations continue before temporary ramps and bridge open to traffic.

Traffic changes and 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 Street and the temporary Ferry Street 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 SR 56 and Ferry St. will convert to a 3-way stop.

• A 3-way stop will be placed at Ferry Street and Vaughn Drive in Madison.

• In Milton, northbound traffic from US 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, and there will be a stop sign for vehicles traveling from the Milton boat ramp onto Ferry Street.

• A stop sign for vehicles will be on KY-36 at the intersection with Ferry Street 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 because of 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.

For more information, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.