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What are these cracks doing in Milwaukee’s Humboldt Bridge?

Cracks have begun to appear on the Humboldt Bridge in Milwaukee. (Staff photos by Kevin Harnack)

Cracks have begun to appear on the Humboldt Bridge in Milwaukee. (Staff photos by Kevin Harnack)

A pedestrian walking on the Humboldt Bridge in Milwaukee recently contacted The Daily Reporter, asking about the cracks on the surface of the bridge.

The cracks, filled with yellow goo, are nothing to worry about, says Milwaukee City Engineer Jeff Polenske.

Hairline fractures appear in all bridges soon after they are completed because of stress, he said. The traditional fix has been to apply a more neutral colored sealant but the Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently required the yellow goo.

Polenske said the city has received a lot of calls asking if the $8.5 million bridge that reopened June 30 and connects Humboldt Boulevard and Commerce Street over the Milwaukee River was falling apart.

It’s not, he said.

5 comments

  1. “Yellow goo”??? Really???

    I would expect this type of “fluff” explanation from a local TV station, but not from an City Engineer or construction industry-related organization. I would rather expect for a City Engineer, or an organization like the Daily Reporter, to explain what material the “yellow goo” actually is and why the DOT specs it to correct stress cracks, over other traditional methods/materials…

  2. Really? Who built the bridge? Cracks in a new bridge are normal????? Just like concrete facades falling off relatively young parking garages in downtown Milwaukee and killing a person? Wake up people.

  3. When’s the last time you saw “hairline” cracks the size of 1″ or 2″?

  4. The cracks appeared to have been routed out to the size they appear, which is a standard procedure to address crack repairs in parking decks, bridges, etc. They were likely hairline cracks, to start.

    The “yellow goo” explanation from a City Engineer and an construction industry publication is what concerns me. I see the term was also used in the print version, but also did explain it replaced typically used “neutral colored sealant”. I did a Google search on “yellow goo” to see if it was a brand name I was unaware of, and I found some interesting references, but noting closily resembling crack sealant…

  5. Not falling apart? What did the yellow goo do for the bridge tonight?

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