Monday, June 3, 2013

Milestone for Milton-Madison bridge

If all went as planned, traffic moved across the new bridge connecting Madison, Indiana, and Milton, Kentucky, tonight.

In a a paragraph or two, I'll paste part of the news release about the event. I need to get down there soon. How many people can say they crossed an Ohio River bridge before it was closed and moved to another spot nearby? I mean, how cool is that?

You can find the full text of the news release starting with the link to the left on the project. But here are the first couple of paragraphs.

Louisville, Ky. (May 29, 2013) – After more than two years of construction on the new Milton-Madison Bridge, workers are gearing up for some of the final – and most anticipated – stages of the project, expected to take place this summer.

The first milestone occurs early next week when traffic is switched from the old bridge to the new bridge in its temporary location. Project contractor Walsh Construction expects the switch to take place on June  3 or 4.

Cairo highway bridge

We couldn't be that close to Cairo and not make a few trips across the highway bridge over the Ohio near its mouth. For the first part of this journey, we followed the usual practice of me driving and Adam shooting.

First, this is how the bridge looks as you approach it from the Kentucky side.

Looking straight on like this, it's easy to see this bridge is bigger than the ones we're familiar with on the middle and upper river.

Adam shot some barges being fleeted, and again, things are different down there. Up here, there's nowhere near enough room in the river to fleet barges away from shore like this.

Here are a couple of views from the park on the Illinois side.

The bridge is very narrow. I saw some tractor-trailers cross it, but I was not on there to see two of them traveling in opposite directions at the same time. That must have been a tight fit.

And there is no sidewalk. That disappointed me, as t here are some good boat pictures to be made up there. The first time we crossed it was around midnight, and there was plenty of nighttime activity on the river. When we left on Sunday morning, the rising sun made the AEP boat over by the Illinois shore shine really nice.

We first crossed it at night heading from Illinois into Kentucky. I thought the road signs said the bridge carried U.S. 60 over the Ohio. The road signs on the Kentucky side said we were on U.S. 51. It was almost five miles before I could pull over to check my map to see where we were. As I was doing that, my Marine Corps son got out his iPhone and used his GPS to tell me we were about 100 feet from where we needed to turn.

Here is some information on the bridge that I pulled off the National Bridge Inventory Database. There are some things that surprised me in here, particularly the last number where the bridge had a 22.4 sufficiency rating. That was higher than I expected, but when you think about how important it is, Kentucky probably spends a lot of money keeping it repaired. The cost of replacing a bridge that's more than a mile long can't be cheap.

State: KY
NBI Structure Number: 004B00021N
Route Sign Prefix: U.S. Highway
Route Number: 51
Facility Carried:US-51
Feature Intersected: OHIO RIVER -IC (SOU) RR
Location: 4.0 MI WEST OF JCT US51&6
Year Built: 1937
Status: Structurally Deficient
RecordType: Roadway is carried ON the structure
Level of Service: Mainline roadway
Owner: State Highway Agency
Highway Agency District: 01
Maintenance Responsibility: State Highway Agency
Functional Class: Principal Arterial - Other, Rural
Service On Bridge: Highway
Service Under Bridge: Railroad-waterway
Latitude: 36 59 40.49 N
Longitude: 89 08 40.36 W
Material Design: Steel
Design Construction: Truss - Thru
Approach Material Design: Steel
Approach Design Construction: Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder
Structure Length (m): 1,787.7
Navigation Vertical Clearance (m): 15.2
Approach Roadway Width (m): 7.3
Lanes on Structure: 2
Average Daily Traffic: 5350
Year of Average Daily Traffic: 2011
Design Load: M 18
Scour: Bridge foundations determined to be stable for assessed or calculated scour condition.
Bridge Railings: Do not meet currently acceptable standards.
Historical Significance: Bridge is possibly eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (requires further investigation before determination can be made) or bridge is on a State or local historic register.
# of Spans in Main Structure: 5
# of Spans in Approach Structures: 27
Bridge Median: No Median
StructureFlared: No flare
Transitions: Meets currently acceptable standards.
Approach Guardrail: Meets currently acceptable standards.
Approach Guardrail Ends: Meets currently acceptable standards.
Navigation Control: Navigation control on waterawy (bridge permit required).
Navigation Horizontal Clearance (m): 192
Structure Open?: Open, no restrictions
Deck: Good Condition
Superstructure: Satisfactory Condition
Substructure: Good Condition
Structural Evaluation: Basically intolerable requiring high priority of replacement
Sufficiency Rating (%): 22.4