MARQUETTE - A towering new span over the Dead River along Marquette County Road 510 is starting to take shape.
Large steel I-beams have been set in place for the new bridge and preliminary work is being done to pour concrete over the beams. The $4.5 million project is moving forward with Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, Wis., as the prime contractor on the job.
"Right now, we are ahead of schedule with the construction," said Jim Iwanicki, engineer-manager of the Marquette County Road Commission. "Our original completion date was Nov. 1 and we're currently ahead of that."
The new bridge over the Dead River will be 100 feet above the water. The old bridge was 10 feet above the river. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson Zaleski)
Iwanicki said weather conditions favorable for construction, including an early spring, have helped move the project along, as well as efficiency of the Lunda Construction crews.
Last fall, concrete work was done on the span, which will cross the rivercourse 100 feet above the water. The old bridge over the Dead River was only 10 feet above the river.
Iwanicki said the bridge was designed to be higher than the old bridge in case any of the dams along the Dead River were breached or broken and also for economic reasons.
With the new road alignment, it made more sense to have the bridge be high above the river than to spend a great deal of money for fill work, Iwanicki said.
The new span is being constructed about 300 yards upstream from an aging bridge that has stood there since 1921.
The old bridge will remain in place for pedestrian traffic once the new bridge opens.
The bridge project is being paid for by critical bridge funds, 80 percent contributed in federal money, 15 percent in state and 5 percent matched by the road commission.
Wilcox Professional Services of downstate Cadillac and Farmington Hills designed the bridge. The project has been in development for the past decade or so.
In October 2007, Oberstar Inc. of Marquette began work on the approaches to the new bridge. That work was completed in November 2008, for an additional $1.7 million.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org