Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Water St. Bridge - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Is the new bridge wider than the current one?

Yes. The new bridge will be 20 feet wider than the current structure.

Will the new bridge have a taller railing than the current one?

Yes. To meet current design standards the new railing will be 54 inches tall.

Why is the bridge being replaced?

The bridge has reached the end of its useful service life and it is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.

How much room will the new bridge have for bicycles and pedestrians?

The new bridge will have an eight foot raised sidewalk on each side of the bridge for pedestrians and five foot on-street bike lanes in each direction for bicyclists.

How long will it take to construct the bridge?

It is anticipated that construction will start in the fall of 2015 and be completed in the fall of 2016.

Will there be a detour route?

Yes. The roadway will be closed to traffic during construction. Vehicles will be detoured using 1st Ave., Lake St., S. Farwell St., Washington St., and State St. Bicycles and Pedestrians will need to use either the Lake St. Bridge or the UW-Eau Claire pedestrian/foot bridge.

Can a pedestrian underpass be constructed on the east side of the bridge?

No, not at this time.

What input can we residents have in the look and features of the new bridge?

At the Public Open Houses residents are being asked for their preferences on railing type and pier aesthetics.

Are you doing anything between the bridge and State St. to improve traffic flow?

No. This is strictly a bridge replacement project.

Will the new bridge have decorative lighting?

Yes. Decorative lighting will be placed on the new structure that will match the lighting used on Thorp Drive.

Is there going to be a pedestrian underpass going under Water St./First Ave. intersection?

No, not at this time.

Is there Federal Funding on the project?

Yes, federal funds will be used for construction of this project.

Will the lighting of the new bridge be consistent with "Dark Sky" lighting design?

The goal of all lighting design is to focus light on the roadway and limit scattering of light.

Will the trail on the west side of the bridge be lit under the bridge?

Yes. A light will be added under the new structure on the west end of the bridge over the bike/pedestrian trail.

What types of aesthetics will the new bridge have?

The new bridge will have decorative:

  • Lighting
  • Concrete on the piers and abutments to give the look of rock
  • Railings
  • Baluster form liners on the concrete parapet walls
  • Pedestals at the light locations
  • Arched maskwalls at pier locations
  • Features incorporated into the piers, including making the bridge appear older by "antiquing" the concrete
  • Outside faces of the concrete beams that will be painted and,
  • Scenic overlooks will be constructed on the northeast and southwest quadrants of the new structure

Will the new bridge use the “old style arches” like the previous structure had?

The new structure will not be an arched bridge. Smaller arched maskwalls will be constructed at the pier locations to give the look of “arches” on the structure.

Will there be a heated deck system to melt snow?

No. Normal snow removal operations will still be needed.

Will a roundabout be constructed at the intersection of 1st Ave. and Water St.?

No. The intersection will remain a signalized intersection.

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WisDOT Northwest Region Office, nwr.dtsd@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: October 2, 2013

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