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Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 14, 2014 at 5:35 PM.
The largest bridge slide ever was completed last week at site of the Milton-Madison Bridge over the Ohio River between Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind., when the new bridge made its 55-ft journey from temporary piers to permanent, refurbished piers. Spanning nearly a half mile, the truss of the Milton-Madison Bridge is now the longest bridge in North America to be slid laterally into place.
The slide began on Wednesday morning but was halted in the late afternoon due to high winds over the Ohio River. Walsh Construction, who is building the bridge, brought in materials from the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project to help deal with windy conditions and assist in synchronizing the slide onto the five permanent piers, which allowed the slide to resume on Thursday morning at about 8 a.m.
“It’s great to see the bridge completed and sitting in its permanent location,” said Dav Kessinger, project manager for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “This bridge will serve the area well for decades to come.”
“This is truly a historic accomplishment for everyone involved,” added Kevin Hetrick, project manager for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). “The people of Indiana and Kentucky should be proud to be a part of this amazing engineering feat.”
Polished steel sliding plates were secured on top of the refurbished piers. Steel cables and eight computer-controlled hydraulic jacks were used to pull the bridge through a series of grabs and pulls until the bridge was slid into place. The 30-million-lb new steel truss bridge is 2,428-ft long and 40-ft wide with two 12-ft lanes and 8-ft shoulders – twice as wide as the old bridge, which opened in 1929. A 5-ft-wide cantilevered sidewalk will be added to the structure in the coming months.
Now that the slide is complete, it will take approximately a week to complete inspections, road connections to the bridge and other work before the bridge is reopened to traffic.
The Milton-Madison Bridge Project – a joint effort between the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet – has received several state and national engineering awards for innovation. For more information, visit MiltonMadisonBridge.com or follow the project on Twitter.
The article “Move That Bridge” in the February 2012 issue of MSC also describes the project in detail and explains how the decision to use the innovative sliding technique stemmed from the system’s success on the Capilano River Bridge project in Vancouver, Canada.