Crews pull half-mile, 30 million-pound bridge into place in record-breaking slide

Updated Apr 16, 2014

Milton Madison Bridge slide

Construction crews have completed a record-breaking bridge slide over the Ohio River.

At nearly a half-mile in length and weighing in at more than 30 million pounds, the Milton-Madison bridge is a new steel truss bridge that replaces a span originally built in 1929.

It is now the largest bridge in North America (perhaps the world) to be slid laterally into place.

Walsh Construction, the company building the new $131 million bridge, slid the bridge 55 feet laterally from temporary piers into place over April 9 and 10 last week. The task likely could have been completed on April 9 but high winds on the river caused a halt in work.

The workers completed the task by placing polished steel plates on top of the permanent piers to create a slippery surface. They then pulled the bridge from the temporary piers using steel cables and eight computer-controlled hydraulic jacks.

In total, workers slid the bridge for 12 1/2 hours.

The bridge spans the Ohio River and connects the towns of Madison, Indiana and Milton, Kentucky. At 40 feet wide, the new bridge is twice as wide as the old bridge and has two 12-foot lanes and 8-foot shoulders.

The remaining work on the bridge includes inspections and road connections. That work should be completed in about a week before the new bridge is opened to traffic.

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