HAPPENING TONIGHT: Water Street Bridge, High Bridge among agenda items for Eau Claire committee

The existing Water Street Bridge was built in 1947.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A city committee is scheduled to look over plans for proposed Chippewa River bridge projects in Eau Claire.

On Wednesday, the City of Eau Claire's Waterways and Parks Commission is scheduled to make a recommendation on the proposed replacement of the Water Street Bridge. City Engineer David Solberg says the city has been working with the Department of Transportation on features it wants to include in the project, like lights that match the ones that are currently on Thorp Drive, and on-street bike lanes. The DOT is handling the project. It expects to spend nearly $6,500,000 on it. Solberg believes the city would spend less than $500,000 to pay for the water main and utility adjustments. The work is scheduled to start next fall. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says it expects the job to be done before the school year begins in 2016.

The commission is also looking at the proposal for the High Bridge over the Chippewa River on Wednesday. Solberg says an engineering firm has finalized plans for it, and he is looking at gathering bids on it this summer, once the DOT give the city the go-ahead. The existing rail bridge is more than 100-years-old. The proposal involves removing the track from the top, and installing a multi-use surface. Walkers and bikers could then use it to cross the Chippewa River. Solberg says that project is estimated to cost $1,000,000. The city council could approve the project this summer. The goal is to have it finished in 2015.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Solberg says he's looking for the commission to recommend the plans that the DOT is proposing. If it recommends any changes, Solberg says he would then work with the DOT on them.


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