(Madison, Ind.) - The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has lowered the posted weight limit for the Milton-Madison Bridge from 15 tons to three tons. Recent inspection of the bridge showed continued deterioration on the 82-year-old bridge, which carries U.S. 421 across the Ohio River from Milton, Ky., to Madison, Ind.
Repairs to the bridge are expected to be completed this week by Walsh Construction, the contractor currently constructing the new Milton-Madison Bridge.
“To ensure the bridge remains safe for passenger vehicles and light trucks, additional steel plates are being installed to reinforce one of the existing members on the truss,” said Matt Bullock, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways, Louisville District, which includes the city of Milton.
“Posting a 3-ton weight limit is necessary to prevent further deterioration of the Milton-Madison Bridge and keep it open to passenger vehicles,” added Bullock “The age and condition of the bridge have been driving factors since the replacement project began. That’s why we’re using innovative construction methods that allow us to replace the bridge quickly and keep it open during construction.”
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 the 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.
The posted limit has the effect of restricting all commercial vehicle traffic from the bridge. Passenger vehicles and unloaded pick-up trucks will be allowed to cross the bridge. Special provisions are being coordinated to provide access for ambulances.
Signs have been updated on regional routes to alert motorists to the lower weight restriction. Vehicles weighing over 3 tons must take an alternate route to cross the Ohio River. The nearest Ohio River bridges are 46 miles downstream in Louisville, Ky., and 26 miles upstream near Vevay, Ind.
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 top of 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.