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Posted: March 25, 2015 Downtown bridges due for work, but not all at once

By: Andrew Dowd, Leader Telegram

All three bridges that get motor vehicles across the Chippewa River in the heart of Eau Claire are due for some work within the next year.

But to avoid a major hassle for motorists or starting a ferry service, the city plans to only have one bridge down at a time.

"We don't want to affect traffic on more than one crossing of the river at a time," city engineer David Solberg wrote in an email.

The biggest project is the Water Street bridge project. The 1947-built bridge will be replaced at a cost of $8 million - borne mostly by the state Department of Transportation with about $500,000 from the city government.

But before that year-long construction project begins in autumn, the city will try to make road and bridge repairs impacting the other two river crossings.

The Veterans Memorial Bridge (aka the Lake Street bridge) will be shut down in coming months for road work on the west bank of the river.

Approved last year, but unable to squeeze it in for the 2014 season, one block of Lake Street and five blocks of First Avenue are set for construction this spring and summer. The city estimates the six blocks of building a new roadway and replacing utility lines will cost about $902,600, according to engineering reports presented to the City Council in March 2014.

The Madison Street bridge also needs work, as evidenced by some small pieces of concrete lying on a pedestrian underpass underneath the bridge's east end.

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