The Madison-Milton bridge project will reach another milestone this week when the last steel beam is lifted into place on the new bridge.

But with the truss - or steel framework - still sitting on temporary piers, there are several more steps that must occur before the new bridge is complete in late spring 2013.

Construction on the new 7,230-ton steel truss began in September 2011.

Once the truss is completed this week, workers will begin building the bridge road deck by placing the formwork and 484-tons of reinforcing steel.

Preparations for the bridge deck are expected to take place over the next several months, concluding with the concrete placement in the spring. Cold weather construction methods will be used when pouring the bridge deck in cooler temperatures.

"Right now, anyone driving through the area will see two bridges sitting side by side, about 17 feet apart," said Kevin Hetrick, project manager for the Indiana Department of Transportation. "Sometime in 2013, we'll remove the old truss off of the existing bridge and slide this new truss onto the existing piers, which are being rehabbed and reused."

As it has been for all but a few days during construction, the existing bridge remains open to traffic, with a 3-ton weight limit and 36-foot vehicle length restriction.