Milton-Madison Bridge will remain closed - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Milton-Madison Bridge will remain closed through sliding process

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The new bridge on the right will be slid in place where the old bridge once stood. The old bridge on the left no longer exists. (Source: WAVE 3 News file photo) The new bridge on the right will be slid in place where the old bridge once stood. The old bridge on the left no longer exists. (Source: WAVE 3 News file photo)
This map shows the route Indiana drivers would take from the Milton-Madison Bridge to the Kennedy Bridge. (Source: Google Maps) This map shows the route Indiana drivers would take from the Milton-Madison Bridge to the Kennedy Bridge. (Source: Google Maps)
This map shows the route Indiana drivers would take from the Milton-Madison Bridge to the Markland Locks and Dam in Switzerland Co. (Source: Google Maps) This map shows the route Indiana drivers would take from the Milton-Madison Bridge to the Markland Locks and Dam in Switzerland Co. (Source: Google Maps)

MILTON, KY (WAVE) – On the heels of a history making project, the Milton Madison Bridge was shut down, forcing thousands of drivers to more than double their travel times.

The bridge closed early Tuesday morning after a steel bearing came loose between a pier and the bridge, striking a construction worker. The worker was treated at a local hospital and released.

[PREVIOUS STORY: How to get across the Ohio River during the Milton-Madison Bridge closure]

"This bridge is a very important vital link for the residents of both sides of the river," said Andrea Clifford, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The Milton-Madison Bridge carries more than 10,000 cars a day so when it suddenly shuts down a lot of drivers, like Danny Sachlaben, had no choice but to burn some extra miles on their way to work.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Accident shuts down Milton-Madison Bridge early, worker injured]

"An hour and twenty minutes for normally a 15 minute drive," said Sachlaben.

To cross now, it's 26 miles upstream at the Markland Locks and Dam Bridge or 46 miles downstream to the I-65 Kennedy Bridge in Louisville.

[RELATED LINK: Live views of the Milton-Madison Bridge]

"We just have to do what we have to do, that's all we can do," said Sachlaben.

Many were already preparing for this when the bridge was set to close this Friday for a week.

"We are still in the assessment and formulating plans stages so we don't have a schedule yet as to when the bridge will be reopen to traffic," said Clifford.

What is certain the bridge will remain closed until crews move the span 55 feet to the renovated piers. Not sure if that will happen on time. 

"This will be the longest span slide in North America, possibly even the world. There are some other projects where spans have been slid before, but non of this length," said Clifford.

Emergency crews in Milton are making alternate plans.

"We are such a rural community we have a local hospital across the river in Madison, Indiana, which is our closest hospital other than that EMS would have to go to Carrollton or LaGrange or even further into Louisville to get medical treatment," said Jason Long, Milton Fire Department Chief.

A ferry boat is coming down the Ohio River form the Cincinnati area and will be available to transport emergency vehicles across the river if need be. 

"We do want it done because a lot of our mutual aid comes from over there, too so with it being closed, it kind of hurts that a little bit," said Long.

Emergency crews in Trimble County do have a medical helicopter that is always available.

Structural engineers are checking condition of the bridge. They are considering several options for reopening the bridge as soon as possible.

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