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Milton–Madison Bridge

Coordinates: 38°43′45″N 85°22′12″W / 38.729128°N 85.370114°W / 38.729128; -85.370114
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Milton–Madison Bridge
The bridge in 2019
Coordinates38°43′45″N 85°22′12″W / 38.729128°N 85.370114°W / 38.729128; -85.370114
Carries2 lanes of US 421
CrossesOhio River
LocaleMilton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana
Other name(s)Madison–Milton Bridge
Maintained byKentucky Transportation Cabinet[1]
Total length3,184 feet (970 m)
Width20 feet (6.1 m) (original bridge)
40 feet (12 m) plus 5 feet (1.5 m) sidewalk (current bridge)
Longest span220 m
Opened1929 (original bridge)
2014 (current bridge)
Daily traffic3,498/day

The Milton–Madison Bridge (also known as the Harrison Street Bridge) is a continuous truss bridge that connects Milton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana. It carries approximately 10,000 cars a day.[2] The old structure was replaced with a completely new continuous truss which was constructed on temporary piers adjacent to the operational span between 2011 and 2012 and slid into place after demolition of the old span using a construction method called "truss sliding."[3] The new crossing opened to vehicle traffic in April 2014, and a pedestrian sidewalk opened that October.[4]


This two lane vehicular bridge is the Ohio River crossing for U.S. Route 421. The bridge has a main span of 600 feet (180 m) and total length of 3,184.2 feet (970.5 m). The original bridge had a deck width of a mere 20 feet (6.1 m), and above the deck the vertical clearance was 16.8 feet (5.1 m). The new bridge has a 40-foot (12 m)-wide road bed, plus a 5-foot (1.5 m) cantilevered pedestrian-only path. Bicyclists are banned from the sidewalk, but may use the new bridge's 8-foot (2.4 m) shoulders.[4] This bridge is the only vehicular crossing of the Ohio River for 26 miles (42 km) going upstream (the Markland Bridge near Vevay, Indiana) and 32 miles (51 km) downstream (the Lewis and Clark Bridge in northeast Louisville).[5]

The bridge provides the shortest distance between Indianapolis, Indiana, and Lexington, Kentucky.[6]


Built by J.G. White Engineering Corp., construction was started in 1928, and completed in 1929, at the cost of $1,365,101.84. It was opened for traffic on December 20, 1929. Originally a toll bridge, on November 1, 1947, at noon the toll was removed.[6]

In 1997 the bridge was refurbished.[5] This was after a 1995 study which could not agree on a new bridge location, so $10 million was used for the refurbishment.[2]


The bridge was replaced in the first half of the 2010s, as the original bridge was "functionally obsolete" and "structurally deficient."[7] It had a sufficiency rating of 33 out of a possible 100; its superstructure condition rating was considered "poor".[5] Modern trucks were unable to safely use the old bridge.[2] One of the boons of the new bridge would be to aid a $20 million "resort and entertainment center" where a cotton mill once stood.[8]

A Milton–Madison bridge study was begun by the Indiana Department of Transportation and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on August 26, 2008. The study had to take in account the Madison Historic District, which is a National Historic Landmark, and the National Environmental Policy Act.[2]

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), in a partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), designed a new bridge to replace the original bridge. The new project was headed mostly by INDOT.[9] The bridge was removed except for several piers in the waterway, which were rehabilitated and widened to accommodate a new, wider steel-truss superstructure. Scour mitigation was also performed on the existing piers. The new bridge also features an ADA-compliant pedestrian walkway. Construction for the new bridge began in the fall of 2010, with the old bridge remaining open during work on the piers. Walsh Construction Company planned to close the bridge for only 10 days during construction rather than an anticipated year-long closure. The team used an innovative construction method called "truss sliding" to "slide" the 3,181-foot-long (970 m) truss into place along steel rails and plates.[10]

Emergency ferry service during the 2012 and 2014 bridge closure periods was provided by Madison, Indiana-based, Madison Milton Ferry LLC, in partnership with Anderson Ferry of Hebron, Kentucky. Passenger ferry service was provided by Madison-based Rockin Thunder Jet Boat Rides LLC during the bridge closure for the final slide. In 15 days over 4000 passengers and 12 dogs were transported in a 6-passenger Jet Boat between Milton Kentucky and Madison Indiana.

The cost of the replacement was $103.7 million.[11]


  • On March 11, 2014, only four days before the truss slide was scheduled to begin, construction workers were installing a mechanism to facilitate the slide when a steel bearing on the southeast corner of the bridge dislodged, causing the bridge to drop by at least 1 foot (30 cm) and injuring one worker.[12] Work was conducted to replace the steel bearing ten days later and the bridge opened to traffic at 7:20 PM on April 17, 2014. The pedestrian path opened on October 30 of that year.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://maps.kytc.ky.gov/bridgedataminer/
  2. ^ a b c d "Kentucky officials announce kickoff of bridge study". Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc. September 2008. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  3. ^ "Milton–Madison bridge project milestones". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Madison, Milton Residents Enjoying New Sidewalk" (PDF) (Press release). Milton–Madison Bridge Project. October 30, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 1, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Baughn, James (2002–2009). "Madison-Milton Bridge". Historic Bridges of the United States. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "The Story of the Splendid Milton–Madison Bridge". nkyviews.com. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  7. ^ Weidenbener, Lesley (January 30, 2009). "Indiana panel may focus on Ohio River bridges". Courier-Journal. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  8. ^ "Indiana, Kentucky highway officials launch effort to build new Milton–Madison bridge". FOX 41 (Louisville). Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 1, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Milton–Madison Bridge Official Construction site". Archived from the original on December 6, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  11. ^ "Raising Expectations", Bridge Design & Engineering, August 28, 2012, retrieved August 8, 2014
  12. ^ Godfrey, Courtney (March 11, 2014). "No word on when Milton–Madison Bridge will reopen after accident". Louisville, Kentucky: WDRB. Retrieved March 12, 2014.

External links[edit]