Posted: September 3, 2015 Bye, bye bridge: Water Street bridge closing Sept. 8 for yearlong replacement
By Christena T. O'Brien
Eau Claire Leader Telegram
More than 70 years after its predecessor buckled and eventually collapsed, the Water Street bridge is coming down.
The bridge, which connects Water Street and Summit Avenue and carries about 15,000 vehicles per day over the Chippewa River a few blocks south of downtown Eau Claire, is slated to close to foot and motorized traffic Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. The new bridge has an expected completion date of Sept. 1, 2016.
"It's needed," said Tim Mason, a state Department of Transportation project development supervisor. "It'll be nice when it's done."
The bridge opened on Nov. 20, 1947, more than two years after the former two-lane bridge, built in 1914, buckled on the east end near Summit Avenue. Fifteen days later, an east section of the bridge fell into the river, the Eau Claire Leader reported. About a half-hour later, another section collapsed. On March 1, 1945, a third section of the four-span concrete bridge hit the river.
"It's not going to fall over, but it's time," said Tara Weiss, DOT project manager, about the existing bridge. "... It's reaching the end of its life span."
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