The city of Tomahawk in Lincoln County is gearing up for bridge construction work. If all goes as planned, it will have a new Fourth Street Bridge over the Wisconsin River by July of next year.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has scheduled the project to bid on Aug. 10 with demolition of the existing bridge in October.
In preparation for the work, the city needs to relocate utilities currently hanging on the existing bridge. Bids for this North Fourth Street Bridge Utilities project are due July 1.
The project has several challenges, including dredging under the Wisconsin River and a tight time schedule — the dredging work has to be completed by Aug. 25.
The successful contractor will be required to dredge 187 linear feet across the river (south to north), removing the dredged material, floating conduit bundles across the river and sinking them into the dredged trench.
To accomplish all this will require barge work — documents call for a temporary barge sea wall.
Verizon, Charter and Wisconsin Public Service will then relocate their cables into these new conduits. While all this is going on, contractors will be constructing a new sewage lift station adjacent to the river, including sanitary sewer and water main, for completion by Oct. 1.
This is a city that knows water — in the form of rivers, lakes and flowages. The Wisconsin River bisects Tomahawk and is joined there by the by the Somo, Tomahawk and Spirit rivers as it flows south to the Mississippi River.
According to WisDOT, the Fourth Street Bridge is the primary river crossing within the city. The existing bridge was built in 1922 for $60,000. The price tag for the new bridge is estimated between $6 and $7 million.
Residents will definitely experience frustrations getting around once the bridge is out of commission, but on the other hand it looks like there will be some very interesting construction work to observe first-hand.
I, for one, would like to see what a temporary barge sea wall looks like in action.
Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter for The Daily Reporter. She can be reached at (414) 225-1822.