A tentative agreement between Brennan Construction of Lansing and a group of bridge preservationists headquartered in Grinnell may result in the truss of the Upper Bluffton Bridge being saved for later use.
Workin' Bridges says it has contacted Brennan Construction, which won the contract to build a new bridge over the Upper Iowa River at Bluffton. Brennan Construction owner Marty Brenna told the group, "I have no love for scrapping the old ones (bridges), so if we can work something out to help preserve this bridge, we will."
Workin' Bridges is sponsoring a fundraising concert next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Decorah Fish Hatchery, with donations going to "The Saving of the Upper Bluffton Bridge." Musician David Zollo will perform.
Workin' Bridges Construction Manager Julie Bowers says after the bridge is lifted off its abutments by cranes operated by Brennan Construction, a crew of volunteers will disassemble each vertical, eyebar and transverse beam before transporting all the material to Grinnell. The bridge will then be reassembled at Millgrove Access Wildlife Area in Poweshiek County, where it will become the entrance to the area.
Crews from Brennan Construction will begin work in Bluffton next week. When Winneshiek County gave Brennan Construction the contract to build a new bridge in Bluffton, the old Upper Bluffton Bridge, which had been closed to traffic because of structural problems, became the property of Brennan Construction and not Winneshiek County. The new bridge in Bluffton is expected to open by the end of this year.
(Photo courtesy of www.historicbridges.org)