Milton-Madison Bridge to remain closed at least through end of M - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Milton-Madison Bridge to remain closed at least through end of March

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The new bridge on the right will be slid in place where the old bridge once stood. The old bridge on the left no longer exists. (Source: WAVE 3 News file photo) The new bridge on the right will be slid in place where the old bridge once stood. The old bridge on the left no longer exists. (Source: WAVE 3 News file photo)

MILTON, KY (WAVE) - The Milton-Madison Bridge likely will remain closed at least through the end of March, and possibly longer, according to a news release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation. The sequence of events required to reopen the bridge will take two or more weeks, the news release states.

The new span linking Milton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana across the Ohio River closed three days early on March 11 after a steel bearing dislodged between the bridge and a pier, causing minor injuries to a construction worker on the scene. As a result, the project manager shut down the bridge ahead of schedule believing it was unsafe to cross.

[TIMELAPSE VIDEO: Section of Milton-Madison Bridge being slid into place]

According to the construction contract, the bridge was supposed to be closed 10 days. Now, the bridge is expected to be closed at least 21 days.

Spokespersons for KYTC and INDOT pointed out that the overall impact still will be significantly less than the year-long closure originally anticipated. Even with the shortened closure, mitigation funds of $405,000 were provided to the communities to support awareness programs and promote tourism based on a one-year shut down.

[RELATED STORY: How to get across the Ohio River during the Milton-Madison Bridge closure]

The next major task is to lift the southeast corner of the new Milton-Madison Bridge steel truss in order to replace the steel bridge bearing that dislodged on March 11. Four 250-ton jacks will be used for the operation, which is expected to take place later this week.

After that, crews will finish installing sliding harnesses in preparation for the slide of the nearly half-mile steel truss, which will be moved laterally 55 feet onto permanent piers. Once the slide is completed, the bridge will remain closed while crews connect the bridge to the permanent approaches. That process includes pouring concrete, installing expansion joints and striping pavement.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Milton-Madison Bridge shut down impacts businesses near the river]

Last week, a 100-foot concrete section of the bridge over the Milton riverbank was slid laterally 55-feet into place. That part of the slide can be viewed by clicking here.

While U.S. 421 remains closed across the Ohio River between Milton and Madison, detours will remain in effect. Traffic is being rerouted to the Markland Locks and Dam Bridge, connecting KY Route 1039 and IN State Road 101, 26 miles upstream, or the I-65 Kennedy Bridge in Louisville, 46 miles downstream.

A ferry is available to provide transportation across the river for emergency vehicles. Residents are asked to keep Ferry Street and the boat ramps clear on both sides of the river.

The new steel truss bridge is 2,428 feet long and 40 feet wide with two 12-foot lanes and eight-foot shoulders -- twice as wide as the old bridge.

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