MADISON, Ind. (AP) — A new Ohio River bridge is set to reopen to traffic by Thursday night after a more than month-long closure forced motorists to travel 25 miles to the nearest alternate bridge in southeast Indiana, the Indiana Department of Transportation said Wednesday.
The Milton-Madison Bridge temporarily closed on March 11 to allow crews to finish a phase of construction along the half-mile-long span that connects Madison, Ind., and Milton, Ky. The bridge is twice as wide as the old bridge it replaced.
Weather permitting, the bridge is scheduled to reopen to all motorists by 11:59 p.m. Thursday, though it could reopen earlier in the day. INDOT urged interested motorists to follow the project on Twitter for updates.
Construction crews last week finished sliding the nearly half-mile-long bridge about 55 feet from temporary piers onto refurbished permanent piers. INDOT said it’s the longest bridge in North America to be slid laterally into place.
The closure created lengthy commutes for people who live on one side of the river but worked on the other. A temporary ferry service between the two cities began March 31. The bridge reopened to ambulances on Saturday.
The $100 million joint project with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is ongoing, meaning the bridge will remain a work zone with a 20 mph speed limit as crews remove the temporary piers, paint and finish up other work, according to INDOT.
The new 15,000-ton new steel truss bridge is 2,428-feet long and 40-feet wide with two 12-foot lanes and 8-foot shoulders, according to INDOT. A 5-foot-wide sidewalk will be added to the bridge and is scheduled to open this summer.
An event to mark the completion of the project will be held later this year, INDOT said.
The original Milton-Madison Bridge opened in 1929.