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City ponders future of dike road bridge

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City ponders future of dike road bridge
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Hudson City Council's Public Works Committee is contemplating a recommendation from the city engineer that the Lakefront Park bridge leading to the dike road undergo an inspection.

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The recommendation from engineer Charles Schwartz of the Bonestroo firm was referred to the committee at the City Council's Sept. 21 meeting.

Four days earlier, Schwartz had submitted a proposal to the council for a $5,000 inspection of the bridge (also known as the Walnut Street Bridge). It would involve a "close-up inspection of all (bridge) elements accessible from the ground, bridge deck and boat," according to the proposal.

No testing other than "tapping, sounding and measuring" was proposed.

A report on the bridge's condition would be completed following the inspection.

In a memo to Schwartz, a Bonestroo bridge specialist said the report could be used "to present options and costs for possible future use" of the bridge, "and/or options for replacing the bridge."

Schwartz informed the council that the bridge hasn't been inspected for four years.

He said the county hasn't been required to provide annual inspections since the Wisconsin Department of Transportation learned that the bridge isn't open to general vehicle traffic.

WisDOT informed the city in 2007 that it was no longer eligible for 80-percent funding for replacement of bridge because it isn't open to traffic.

At the time the last bridge inspection was conducted, Bonestroo presented several options for repairing or replacing the bridge, some of which ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost.

"We're just trying to check out our options," Public Works Director Tom Zeuli said when asked about the bridge last week.

He said the Public Works Committee, comprised of chairman Alan Burchill and alderpersons Scot O'Malley and Pam Brokaw, will be assessing what vehicles need to use the bridge and whether it should be repaired or replaced with a smaller bridge.

"That bridge would probably last 100 years with just people walking on it," Zeuli said. "We just want to determine how much weight is safe on it."

He said garbage trucks, vehicles that service the portable toilets at the end of the dike road, ambulances, police cars and vehicles serving the Grand Duchess cruise boat now use the bridge on a regular basis.

A fire truck crosses the bridge to provide protection during the annual Booster Days fireworks display.

See page 14A of the Oct. 1 print edition of the Star-Observer for other action from the Sept. 21st city council meeting.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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