The last section of demolition for the Milton-Madison Bridge Project was completed 30 minutes ahead of schedule yesterday morning. The explosion was planned to commence at 9 AM, but with threatening weather moving in the crew decided to blow-up the bridge 30 minutes earlier.
The bridge has been standing for 84 years. The project to construct the original bridge began just 2 months after the stock-market crash started the Great Depression. The towns on either side of the bridge, Milton, Ky and Madison, Indiana, understood that the invention of the automobile had rendered ferries obsolete. Therefore, both towns agreed to construct a bridge between the cities. The original bridge cost $1 million to build. Residents decided to include a toll for bridge usage in order to recoup the investment - 5 cents for foot traffic and 45 cents for vehicles.
Because of the bridge's age, condition, and the fact that it was only 20 feet wide, the two cities decided in 2008 to start a project to replace the bridge. The new cost of the bridge will be $131 million, but $20 million of that amount will be offset by a grant from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
The Milton-Madison Bridge Project, a joint undertaking of both the Indiana and Kentucky transportation cabinets, has received several awards for its commitment to the environment and historic preservation: "It was named one of the top 10 bridge projects in the country by Roads and Bridges Magazine, received a 2012 Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science magazine and received several state and national engineering awards for innovation."
Being from Kentucky, it is safe to say that this will probably be the first and last time a Kentucky bridge receives an award (And all the credit probably goes to those damned Hoosiers.)
Image via the Milton-Madison Bridge Project website