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High Bridge repairs unanimously approved by Eau Claire City Council

High Bridge in Eau Claire is closed due to damage.
High Bridge in Eau Claire is closed due to damage.(WEAU)
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The 900-foot-long pedestrian High Bridge, spanning over the Chippewa River in Eau Claire is set to be repaired after approval from the City Council. However, it comes at a price.

After being closed off in late June, repairs are estimated to cost $2.5 million.

Another option discussed was a complete removal of the structure, which was estimated to cost around two million dollars.

According to multiple council members, community input was remarkable and played a huge part in the decision to keep the historic bridge standing.

“What really made the difference for me was hearing so much support in our community from the history to the quality of life this bridge provides and the fact that tearing it down is only a bit cheaper than building it back up,” said Andrew Werthmann.

“Every great city has its defining architecture. For the city of Eau Claire it’s the high bridge,” said Dr. Roderick Jones.

The resolution passed unanimously Tuesday evening. It allocates a total of three million dollars to the repair project. There’s still no timeline on when the bridge will open back up.

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The Eau Claire City Council is voting unanimously to approve emergency repairs to High Bridge.

Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an emergency agreement with a qualified contractor for the repair of High Bridge.

The resolution was introduced to the council by Leah Ness, the interim engineering director for the City of Eau Claire.

Multiple city council members said the community has been very involved in this decision.

“This is a lot of money, but I think that this has really become one of Eau Claire’s jewels,” Catherine Emmanuelle, vice president of the city council, said in voicing support for the resolution. “It’s a great metaphor for our lives of rebuilding bridges when there’s fractures.”

The City says it has received two proposals for the stabilization and pier repair of High Bridge with an estimated cost of $3 million. The cost to remove High Bridge was estimated at $2 million. The resolution approves a budget of up to $3 million for repairs.

No timeline has been established for the repairs to High Bridge, which remains closed for safety reasons due to two separate incidents: a damaged hand rail from a storm and some buckled and cracked pavement.

The bridge has been closed since June 21.

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