City of Eau Claire looks to replace bridge outside popular park - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

City of Eau Claire looks to replace bridge outside popular park

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Fall is filled with bright colors; next fall could be filled with even more orange in Eau Claire, as in construction orange.

The city of Eau Claire is reviewing its 2013 budget and replacing a bridge outside a popular park is on the table. 

The causeway bridge is just one of two entrances to Carson Park.

"The sidewalks that are there are in very poor condition, on the approach street that goes up to the bridge," says Brian Amundson, the City of Eau Claire Interim City Manager.

The bridge is just shy of 80 years old and is still structurally sound but considered obsolete.

Amundson says, "It has what's called a sufficiency rating of about 47 on a scale of 100. Bridges that fall below 50, are eligible for federal bridge funding to replace the structure. There's a conflict between pedestrians and people fishing from the bridge and so on, so we need to design the facilities in a way that we can accommodate those various uses. And, that maybe includes changing the actual contouring of the riverbank.

The earliest the bridge would be replaced is fall of 2013. When construction does happen, the only way in and out of the park will be the Menomonie St. entrance. 

"We do have that second way in; we'll try to do the timing in such a way that we have the least impact on the events. You know, we have marathons and running events all the time, along with baseball and football," says Amundson.  

Replacing the bridge and doing the road work will cost $1 million.  The city will apply for federal aid to cover about half.

"The next steps are, we need to do more detailed engineering, once funding is in place, then we have to go out and do actual physical surveys, begin the preliminary design update, estimates of cost, submit permit applications, submit funding applications, a whole series of steps like that," explains Amundson.     

The city is budgeting a half a million dollars for the project.   The city council will hold its final budget meeting on November 7th.

Anther bridge project in the works is replacing the Water St. Bridge. The Department of Transportation is looking to start the $8 million project in 2015.

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