MARQUETTE - After several years on the drawing board, the construction of a new bridge over the Dead River in Forestville is well under way and is expected to be completed by Nov. 14.
"We have been accident free since the start of the project and everything is going as planned." said Mark Larson, project manager for the bridge replacement. "The public seems very happy that they are getting the new bridge."
The new bridge is being built just upstream from the old one, which was built in 1930.
Above, Kurt Taavola, director of engineering for the Forestville bridge replacement project, surveys construction of the new span earlier this week. At left, workers prepare reinforcing rod for concrete on the new $1.5 million bridge, which replaces one that was built in 1930. The old bridge will be left in place for use by bicyclists, pedestrians and possibly by snowmobiles. (Journal photos by Matt Keiser)
"Next week, crews will be building the footings and working their way up." said Kurt Taavola, director of engineering for the project.
Even with the construction, motorists shouldn't expect any traffic delays in the project area. The only time through traffic may experience some delays is when the beams are being brought across the bridge later this fall, Taavola said.
The new bridge will be 100 feet long and 28 feet wide, which is about 11 feet wider than the old bridge.
"There is nothing structurally wrong with the current bridge," Taavola said.
However, he said the approaches on both ends of the old bridge have sharp turns in them, limiting the view of opposing traffic. Part of the construction dealt with rerouting the road so it will be easier to view traffic when approaching the bridge.
In addition, the narrowness of the old bridge made it dangerous for passing cars that are crossing the bridge at the same time.
Since the old bridge is structural fine, plans are to use it as a pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists, and perhaps as a snowmobile trail, Taavola said.
The roughly $1.5 million bridge project is being paid for through the Critical Bridge program, and includes 95 percent state funds and 5 percent local funds.
Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 243. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.