Mike Vogus, of North Vernon, and Bob Anderson, of Madison, (above) install the form for a connection between two prefabricated portions of the  walkway. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->(Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Mike Vogus, of North Vernon, and Bob Anderson, of Madison, (above) install the form for a connection between two prefabricated portions of the walkway.

(Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Motorists crossing the Madison-Milton Bridge see constant reminders of a work zone - the lowered 20 mph speed limit and orange construction cones - but little by little the project nears completion.

Construction crews continue to work on the sidewalk on the west side of the bridge, take down the causeways used to load and unload construction equipment onto barges and dismantle pieces of the temporary piers that were driven into the riverbed. Crews also are rebuilding Madison's Jaycee Park and Milton's boat ramp area.

Larry "Red Dog" Collins with Michael Baker Corporation said all of the 50-foot spans of prefabricated sidewalk have been set and secured to the bridge truss, but workers continue to bend rebar down, add galvanized metal decking and pour five- to seven-foot sections of concrete to permanently connect the sidewalk pieces together.

The concrete pours connecting the prefabricated pieces are expected to be completed sometime next week, he said, but that doesn't mean the walkway will be open to pedestrians.

Handrails will need to be installed the rest of the way across the bridge, and crews will have to wait for the handrail on structure four - or the ramp from ground level on Vaughn Drive to the bridge on the Madison side - to be fabricated and shipped to the site.

"It's a pretty detailed process," Collins said.

The ramp railing needed to be measured after most of the sidewalk project was complete so that the pieces would fit exactly at each turn and match up with bolts installed in the concrete sidewalk.

Galvanized steel grates between the bridge and the sidewalk also need to be installed prior to the walkway opening to pedestrians, Collins said.

While some construction workers complete work about 90 feet above the Ohio River, others work to clear away the remnants of the building project on the riverbank.

Crews worked Friday to remove the causeway on the Indiana side of the project, which had been the area where crews would load cranes onto barges for work near the center of the Ohio River.

"For it to come out means the river work is dwindling down," Collins said.

Most of the temporary pier structures above the water have been removed, but workers still need to remove pieces of the temporary piers that had been pounded into the riverbed near the beginning of the project.

All of the bridge pier caps have been completed too, he said. A concrete form still remains on one of the piers, but all of the major concrete pours for the project are finished.

Crews also worked to smooth out dirt in the playground area for Jaycee Park. The park area had been used by bridge project crews as a worksite, but the city park will be rebuilt similar to the original - with a few upgrades.

One shelter house has already been rebuilt and another shelter will be rebuilt after temporary work offices are moved, Collins said.

The basketball court will be rebuilt in its former location with playground equipment installed in the same area as before.

The sand volleyball courts at the park have already been completed. The courts should have better drainage than the previous courts with a new drainage system under the courts, Collins said. The courts have a two-foot stone base with geotextile fabric between the stone base and the sand court.

Workers also have repaved Vaughn Drive in the worksite area, Collins said, but the roadway in the construction zone is still closed to traffic.

Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield said work continues in that area, and the roadway will most likely remain closed until crews have completed the sidewalk work above the roadway.

The 20 mph speed limit on the bridge also will remain until the end of the project later this year.

State officials anticipate a grand opening celebration after all bridge work has been completed, he said, but no specific date has been set.