Wauzeka Area Bridge

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WSOR looking 

at replacing bridge 

east of Wauzeka

Project estimated at $8.7 million

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Wisconsin and Southern Railroad (WSOR) are considering a replacement option for a railroad bridge across the Wisconsin River just east of Wauzeka. The total cost is estimated at approximately $8.7 million and a grant was applied for in February. 

Ken Lucht, director of government relations at WSOR, said that they are expecting award announcements this summer. Pending award announcements, the project has not yet been officially approved.

“This bridge is 100 years old and originally designed for much lighter engines and tonnage compared to today’s rail industry standards,” said Lucht. “Conditions warranting replacement include severe pile settlement and component decay (timber). If work is not done, the bridge will likely be taken out of service at some point in the future and service will be discontinued to Grant and Crawford counties.” 

Lucht said that if the project moves forward, it would be total bridge replacement. All timber components would be removed and replaced with steel components, including the decking. He said that the bridge is 1,100 feet long.

Lucht said that the grant application is for $7 million. It is a state grant with a 20 percent local match. The bridge is approximately three miles east of Wauzeka.

“Rail traffic over this bridge has climbed 450 percent since 2005 and the future of demand for rail in Southwest Wisconsin will continue to increase,” said Lucht. “Through our partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, we are committed to investing in our infrastructure in order to avoid disruptions to local businesses and communities and to help build this network for the next 100 years.”

The WSOR is currently conducting several freight rail improvement projects in the Prairie du Chien area. Projects underway include replacement of existing 85 and 90-pound rail with 115-pound continuously-welded rail on 2.4 miles of track in Prairie du Chien. Five public crossings and 10 turnouts also will be reconstructed between Prairie du Chien and Wauzeka. Prairie Subdivision-Phase 2 tie replacement includes replacing ties and resurfacing track on 45.5 miles of track between Avoca in Iowa County and Prairie du Chien on the Prairie Subdivision in preparation of installing continuously-welded rail. WSOR will replace 30,000 ties between Avoca and Prairie du Chien during this phase of work on the Prairie Subdivision.

Another project affecting Prairie du Chien will be the Spring Green Bridge Reconstruction/Replacement to replace several of the spans that comprise a bridge located near Spring Green. This project has been identified by engineering studies as necessary to keep the Prairie du Chien-to-Madison rail line operational.

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