What could be next for the Dewey Street Bridge in Eau Claire

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 9:45 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -A bridge in downtown Eau Claire remains closed after crews found a hole in the middle of it.

Since 1931 the Dewey Street Bridge has connected the two banks of the Eau Claire River. Its future right now is uncertain.

“There’s a hole in the deck’s surface of the structure,” said Leah Ness, one of the City of Eau Claire’s deputy city engineers.

That hole caused the city to shut down the bridge to both vehicles and pedestrians. To help address the issue so far, Ness said the hole is covered with a steel plate.

“We’re trying to determine should we do a spot repair on the structure, or do we operate with no parking on the structure and have the travel lanes on the outside in the short term,” Ness said.

Monday, structural inspectors took a look at the bridge to determine some options moving forward. Along with their report, Ness said inspections of the bridge will be done every three months.

“This bridge was on annual inspection, so we were doing inspections every year, and we knew we would need to be doing repairs to it in the near future, so it was on our radar,” Ness said.

In 2016 the city received a grant to repair the Dewey Street Bridge. That project was put on hold due to its price tag.

“When we put the plans out to bid, they were much higher than what we had estimated for, so we were looking at alternatives on how to move forward with the structure at that time,” Ness said. “Since then, we’ve reapplied for funding.”

The city has applied for federal dollars to replace the bridge through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Grant Program. If awarded, the grant is expected to cover the main part of the bridge project.

Ness said the bridge is safe. It is closed out of an abundance of caution.

Inspectors did give the city the green light to reopen the bridge. Ness expects that will happen sometime this week.