Future of historic Cobban Bridge in Chippewa Falls undetermined - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Future of historic Cobban Bridge in Chippewa Falls undetermined

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - A Federal law could keep the historical Cobban Bridge from being torn down after it is replaced in Chippewa County. 

The Cobban Bridge is currently being replaced and traffic will be diverted to the new bridge just south of the Cobban Bridge's current location. Now, the Chippewa County Highway department is considering the future of the historic bridge. 

The Cobban Bridge is over 100 years old. It is not yet on the National Register of Historic Places, but the Chippewa County Highway Department said it is eligible to be on the list, which means it is protected by the same federal rules when considering tearing down the bridge.

The county is currently undergoing a project required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, studying any adverse effects that could come from tearing down the bridge reaching out to archaeologists, historical societies, Native American societies, the Historical Bridge Foundation, Army Corps of Engineers, DOT, Federal Highway Association, Wisconsin Historic Preservation Office, and the Wisconsin DNR. Chippewa County has been doing this study for about 6 months, and staff said it could be another year before it is finished. 

"We need to do our due diligence and consider all the feasible and prudent options for preserving the historical significance of that bridge," Chippewa County Highway Department Project Manager Fred Anderson said. 

The current project to replace the Cobban Bridge will cost nearly $7 million. That project was approved after estimates for restoring the Cobban Bridge came back at $13 million.

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