Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things fall apart...

A bridge in Sturgeon Bay had to be shut down Monday because it is in such awful shape. Pieces of it are literally falling off to the ground or water below.

Another sign of the messed up transportation policies in this state -- there is money for unnecessary expansion of North-South I-94 and to rebuild the Zoo Interchange on an accelerated timeline, but the Wisconsin Department of Transportation lets a bridge slide into such disrepair that it becomes a hazard. From the Green Bay Gazette:

STURGEON BAY — Even before the Michigan Street Bridge was shut down Monday because of "severe structural deterioration," city and Door County officials were trying to figure out how to reopen the span.

That includes providing round-the-clock, on-site enforcement of weight limits if the state lifts its ban and reopens the bridge, Sturgeon Bay Police Chief Dan Trelka said.

"We'd put a city police officer or Door County sheriff's deputy at either end and visually monitor what crosses," Trelka said.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation shut down the bridge at 3 p.m. Monday as a result of deterioration observed during an inspection earlier this month, said Will Dorsey, operations manager for the state Department of Transportation office in Ashwaubenon.

Engineers were concerned about vehicles violating a 5-ton weight limit imposed several years ago to prolong the life of the bridge, Dorsey said.

"There were a number of vehicles well in excess of the 5-ton limit using the bridge," Dorsey said. "We've seen trailers, semis; and we are concerned for the safety of the traveling public."

With the shutdown of the Michigan Street span, all vehicle traffic was diverted to the Bayview Bridge that crosses on Wisconsin 42/57 on the east side of the city.


Anonymous said...

I think I read in that same news story that the failing bridge is to be replaced as soon as the new bridge is finished, which is next month. Again, fair reporting by Gretchen.

Gretchen Schuldt said...

Gee, and it was declared functionally obsolete in 1996. Godspeed, DOT.

And the point is not that it will be rebuilt some time after it became dangerous, but that WisDOT let it get in that condition in the first place. Or maybe if it collapsed, Anonymous, you could write, "but it was scheduled to be rebuilt just 12 years after it became obsolete, and several years after weight limits were imposed!"