New connections for Menomonie area bike trails - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New connections for Menomonie area bike trails

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - There's a first of its kind bridge being built over the Red Cedar River near Menomonie.

When the DOT announced the project to replace the Red Cedar River bridges years ago, the city of Menomonie proposed an interesting idea.

"Actually building a multi-use path, which is what we call them, for bikers or pedestrians, right located underneath the new bridges that will be built starting this year," says Chris Ouellette of the DOT.

The plan is to place the multi-use bridge parallel to, and below the eastbound lane of I-94, connecting two trails north of the city along Lake Menomin.

"People are fired up because with this connection it makes a loop all the way around the city.  That gives the opportunity for anybody to get to work from bicycle, get to school from bicycle," says Menomonie Mayor Randy Knaack.

The project is also breaking barriers for bridges in Wisconsin.

"This is the only one so far in Wisconsin that is being built this close to the interstate system," says Ouellette.

"Well I think that's exciting for other communities that if we can do it maybe they can too.  So hopefully this idea will grow across Wisconsin," says Knaack.

The Red Cedar River bridge project is already underway and work on the multi-use bridge will begin in a year at a price around $777,000 being funded by the state.

"However, it will be up to the City of Menomonie to connect their trail system to the multi-use path," says Ouellette.

"By the time they get done with the bridge across the river, we'll have our connections in place here in Menomonie," says Knaack.

Providing a safe shortcut for walkers, bikers and runners to cross the red cedar.

Completion of the bridge is set for the fall of 2014 and the city says it will have the connecting bike paths ready to go at that time.

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