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National transportation group honors Winneconne bridge

The recently completed WIS 116 bridge over the Wolf River in Winneconne has been selected for recognition from America’s Transportation Awards. In 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reconstructed the bridge to current design and safety standards. The new structure also provides safer accommodations for fishing, snowmobiling and river traffic.

The previous structure, constructed in 1934, had reached the end of its useful life. Also, it was built close to the water and had to be raised and lowed for river traffic.

The new WIS 116 bridge improves traffic flow and safety with the following features:

  • A higher fixed deck, which allows river traffic to pass without raising or lowering the bridge;
  • six-foot shoulders;
  • six-foot sidewalk on the north side; and
  • 10-foot sidewalk on the south side, which accommodates snowmobiles in the winter when conditions allow.

The Winneconne bridge was one of the few state highway bridges where fishing was legal. The new bridge supports fishing by providing two platforms that each extend about 220 feet from the shoreline.

Significant challenges during construction included environmental protection for migrating fish, extremely high water and the presence of ospreys within the work area.

The project represents an $11.4 million investment in the region’s highway network and in the community. To minimize traffic impacts during construction crews kept the old bridge open, eliminating the need for a 25-mile detour.

The regional award for the project is for quality of life and community development. The project will compete with other regional winners for national awards that are to be announced in late-August. The top-two prizes carry a $10,000 cash prize to support a transportation-related scholarship. America’s Transportation Awards is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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