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Madison, IN (WDRB News) -- In Madison, Indiana construction crews are getting ready for the "big lift."
They have entered a critical phase of the construction of the new Milton-Madison Bridge, located on the Ohio River between Milton, Kentucky and historic Madison, Indiana.
On Monday a giant 600 foot section of the new bridge was sitting out in the middle of the river resting on several barges. Just after sunrise, the span, the size of two football fields, was slowing moved out into the river from the Kentucky side where it was assembled.
Crews spent the day getting the truss into the proper position so it can be lifted 85 feet onto temporary piers.
"Using what they call strand jacks," explains Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield, "they are very powerful jacks connected to a bundle of steel cables that will lift the 1,776 ton span into its proper place."
The lift is expected to begin sometime this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.
The innovative project has captured the imagination of the public as people found a comfortable spot along the river to watch. Longtime resident Steve Wilson has a scrapbook of when the old bridge was finished.
He is looking forward to when the new one opens. "It seems like the construction is going pretty well, right on schedule," says Wilson.
Jim Snider came all the way from Brown County, Indiana to watch. "It is an opportunity to see something I won't otherwise see," he says, "it seems like an engineering feat.
Once the truss is lifted to the top, a massive 125 foot ton beam will be slid under it which will be used to slid the entire new bridge from the temporary piers to the permanent ones.
The slide won't occur until after the first of the year.
Workers continue to build a second span, that if all goes well this week, will be lifted into place in August.
While all of this work is underway, the old bridge remains open to traffic with a three ton weight limit in force.
The entire project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2013.