Saturday, October 22, 2011

Milton Madison bridge pictures

Here are some photos of the Milton-Madison Bridge project, as provided by the folks at miltonmadisonbridge.com

Existing bridge is only 20 feet wide

Truss preassembly

Existing pier strengthening

Steel reinforcement of concrete piers

Looking up

Two-foot thick concrete jacket surrounds piers

Two renderings of the new bridge

The project web site is informative, a good read and well done. It's a model for other big projects like this that affect a lot of people. The site has about 10 gazillion photos of the project and the surrounding area. Many thanks to Kathy Francis and others for allowing me to share these photos.


I got this one this evening. I like the way the reflection of the setting sun bounces off the ripples running perpendicular to both the current and the reflection.

Which bridge project is/was faster: Milton Madison or Silver Memorial?

A while back, I noted on this blog that the folks in Madison, Ind., are saying that their bridge replacement project is the fastest on record on the Ohio River. I disagreed with that assertion, noting that the Silver Memorial Bridge opened two years to the day after the Silver Bridge collapsed into the Ohio River on Dec. 15, 1967. That two-year window included design, right-of-way, construction and everything else.

So I went on the project's web site the other day and asked the folks in Madison if their project really was faster than the Silver Memorial Bridge. Here is the first of two replies that I received. It arrived at 11:24 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21:

Mr. Ross,

That’s an interesting question. It’s difficult to contrast an emergency bridge replacement, like the Silver Memorial Bridge, with the Milton-Madison Bridge Project. When we say this bridge is the “fastest modern day” bridge built across the Ohio, we are referring to it as the fastest post-NEPAbridge.  NEPA dramatically changed the process for such projects, so again, it’s difficult to compare a pre-NEPA and post-NEPA project.  At least that’s my understanding of the situation. I’ve copied two engineers who can correct me if I’ve misstated any of this. But you’re certainly right in that the Silver Bridge project was fast!

Construction on the MMBP began earlier this year and is expected to open to traffic in late 2012.

Thank you for taking the time to write. You point out an interesting history behind the Silver Bridge.

Kathy Francis

Then came the second reply, at 11:36 a.m.:

Mr. Ross

Kathy is correct in that the Silver Bridge Replacement occurred prior to National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) being signed by President Nixon on January 1, 1970.  The Silver Bridge was not subject to the rigors of NEPA. NEPA added an entire new level of complexities that the Silver Bridge was not subject to as an emergency project pre-NEPA requirements.   A more recent example would be the new Portsmouth OH South Shore Bridge.  That bridge took over 8 years from NEPA to Opening to Traffic ... which is typical for Ohio River Bridges.

Hope this helps.

John Carr

John L. Carr, P.E.
Vice President/Associate
Wilbur Smith Associates

NEPA is the National Environmental Policy Act, enacted in 1968 or 1969. The wikipedia article is here.

The project at Portsmouth had its shares of delays. This article in the Columbus Dispatch from 2007 talked about how Ohio tried to build two Ohio River bridges and had problems with both, as Ohio was not as experienced as West Virginia when it came to building big bridges.

Speaking of which, my job will take me to the Parkersburg, W.Va., area next week. Again, I'll try to get a photo of the new Blennerhassett Island bridge. It's the first bridge across the Ohio using the network tied arch design. The design allowed the builders to use less steel than normal. There were also some engineering innovations in the design of the approaches. As a West Virginia Department of Highways official told me, they designed the thing to last with as little maintenance as possible. The idea was to do all the work up front so they wouldn't have to keep coming back to it. Time will tell, right?

P.S. Ms. Francis sent along some photos of the Milton Madison Bridge project that I'll put in another post soon.