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Dane County to spend $200K on bridge project to combat flooding

To minimize damage from future floods, Dane County officials are planning to spend more than $200,000 on lowering the pier depth of the Yahara Bridge in the town of Dunn.

The modification is meant both to ensure water flows more smoothly through the area and make it easier for crews to remove sediment. After seeing widespread damage from flooding this summer, local officials committed themselves in their 2019 budget to taking steps to prevent such a disaster from occurring again.

“This investment will help Dane County’s infrastructure keep up with the solutions we develop to manage our changing climate,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “The additional funds move us in the right direction to better manage water flow.”

Dane County officials said sediment accumulation around the Yahara Bridge in Dunn can impede water as it travels downstream in the Yahara River. That river connects four lakes: Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa in the Yahara Chain.

The faster water moves through the river, the sooner lake levels will fall following heavy rains. Officials now estimate that it takes more than two weeks for two inches of rain to leave the Yahara Lakes system.

The proposed pier-lowering project comes as an addition to existing plans to replace the Yahara Bridge in Dunn. Those plans were initially funded in 2015. About 80 percent of the larger project is to be paid for using federal money.

Work on the Yahara Bridge, which stands just south of Fish Camp Park Road on County Highway AB, is scheduled to begin next month. County Highway AB is expected to reopen in May 2019.

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