• The new Milton-Madison bridge (left) is double the width of its predecessor and includes a path for pedestrians. It was slid onto existing refurbished piers on April 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Walsh Construction.

file under: Environment, Government, North America, Sustainability, Transportation, United States

Keeping Communities Connected

Accelerated Services Make Fast-Track Construction Possible

The new 3,142-foot, steel truss bridge linking Milton, KY and Madison, IN., USA, will be slid onto its predecessor’s now-refurbished piers over a 7-day stretch in early 2014—expected to be one of the longest bridge slides in history. At 40 feet wide, double the width of the old bridge, and now including a pedestrian path, it maintains and enhances community connectedness along the Ohio River. CDM Smith provided award-winning project management, accelerated environmental analysis, traffic studies and design-build contract assistance for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).

Built in 1929, the original Milton-Madison Bridge was rapidly approaching the end of its service life. This situation presented a major threat to the estimated 12,000 daily commuters who cross the bridge—the only Ohio River crossing between the states for 25 miles—for work, shopping, to see family and friends or to visit the Madison historic district. CDM Smith began a National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) study investigating alternatives to replace the deteriorating bridge, investigating the economic, environmental and historical impacts to the local communities. In what typically takes 4 to 6 years to complete, CDM Smith completed the NEPA phase in less than 2 years, thanks to a creative project management approach.

Milton Madison bridge meeting-inlineThe firm organized a bi-state management team, which included representatives from KYTC, INDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), who were empowered to make project decisions. A citizens’ advisory committee was also created, including historical experts, public officials, business owners and private officials who offered input and helped communicate with the public. A media relations expert was hired to work with local and regional media to keep citizens apprised of the latest bridge news and maintain a website for the project's progress. Finally, an environmental legal counsel was hired to review documents as they were written and prior to submission to expedite the approval process and work with the FHWA attorneys with the legal sufficiency review.

UPDATE: The Milton-Madison Bridge was slid 55 feet from temporary piers to its permanent, refurbished piers on April 10, 2014. Watch the time-lapse video of the slide below.

Superstructure replacement on existing piers emerged as the most affordable and environmentally friendly option from the NEPA phase. The construction start date was accelerated using the design-build process, and minimal approach work eliminated right-of-way acquisition. The project’s accelerated time frame allowed CDM Smith to prepare an application for KYTC and INDOT to pursue and win a $20 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. With a solution in place, the firm assisted KYTC and INDOT in developing a unique design-build contracting method that encouraged bids based on cost and days of bridge closure. The contract maintained the truss style and reused the existing piers. The incentive for limiting time closures and allowing innovation of the bridge construction techniques, allowed the bridge sliding proposal to be the low bid, saving the states 30% of the estimated costs.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Indiana Department of Transportation