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Detour No More: The Water Street Bridge is Nearing Completion

Posted August 23rd, 2016

  • The New Water Street Bridge from Thorp Commons

In September 2015, the much-traveled 78-year-old Water Street Bridge closed for replacement, and UW-Eau Claire students, area residents, and local businesses started a year of mapping out daily detours and getting a bird’s eye view of a major structural construction project.

Nearly one year later construction on the new Water Street Bridge is on schedule and set to open September 1st. The new 700-foot bridge is 20 feet wider than its predecessor, includes a taller, modern railing (54 inches), raised sidewalks, and an extended five-foot bike lane on each side. These new features will make it a safer, more user-friendly bridge for the vibrant community of businesses, residents, and students that make up the surrounding neighborhoods.

The design also includes decorative lighting matching the adjacent Thorp Commons, decorative and antiqued concrete, and scenic lookouts. Lighting is also being installed under the west end of the bridge to light the current bike and pedestrian trail. During the design process, input on the aesthetics was sought from nearby residents at a public open house.

Students, residents and business owners are equally excited to see the new bridge open. During the year of construction, getting to campus, Downtown, and home all required a little extra time and effort. The reopening of the Water Street Bridge will have an immediate positive impact on the hundreds of students and that live off-campus in the surrounding neighborhoods, and will improve the Water Street experience with a safer, more attractive bridge for walking, biking, and driving for all Downtown residents and visitors.

Downtown Eau Claire will be announcing this week details of a ribbon cutting and community celebration. Follow us on Facebook to be the first to know!