LaHood helps break ground on Milton-Madison bridge replacement project

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined Congressman Baron Hill, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear and other state and local officials in breaking ground late last month on the Milton-Madison bridge replacement project, which received a $20 million grant earlier this year under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program.

The project will replace the Milton-Madison Bridge (U.S. 421), a vital link between two economically distressed communities – Milton, Kentucky, and Madison, Indiana.

“Recovery Act dollars are creating jobs and delivering projects to meet the needs of communities all around the country,” LaHood said in a written statement. “The new Milton-Madison Bridge will restore full service on a critical link between Kentucky and Indiana, improving the quality of life for area residents.”

Current weight restrictions on the Milton-Madison Bridge have limited freight movement on the U.S. 421 corridor. Originally constructed in 1929, the existing bridge is in poor condition and is outdated by today’s standards. An estimated 10,700 vehicles cross the bridge each day, and its serviceable life is estimated to be less than 10 years. If the bridge were to be taken out of service, residents on both sides of the river would suffer tremendous hardship, including increased commuting costs as the result of detours.

Recovery Act funds will go toward a $103.7 million contract for the construction of the new bridge and the rehabilitation of existing piers. The contractor will use innovative methods to construct the new bridge on temporary piers and then slide the entire bridge into place on the rehabilitated piers. This approach will reduce the time needed to close the bridge for construction to less than a month.

“The Recovery Act is helping provide a new and improved bridge for people who use it, and innovation is making it possible to shorten project delivery,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez in a prepared statement. “It’s a win-win for everyone in the area who travels on the bridge.”

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The TIGER program was included in the Recovery Act to promote innovative, multimodal and multijurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.

The Department announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Recovery Act on Feb. 17.

The official groundbreaking for the Milton-Madison bridge replacement project, which received a $20 million grant earlier this year under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a.k.a. “the stimulus,” took place Nov. 30.