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Winneshiek County officials are trying to stretch bridge replacement funds

Posted: Mon, Dec 14, 2020 1:46 PM
An aerial view of the new Chimney Rock Bridge

Winneshiek County performs regular inspections of its bridges based on requirements under Federal Law.  After the 2019 inspection, 63 of the county's 318 NBI reportable bridges were classified as being "structurally deficient".  

The Daley Bridge was replaced in 2019  at a cost of $1.3 million.  The new Chimney Rock Bridge opened earlier this year  at a cost of $1.3 million.   The Hutchinson Bridge is scheduled to be replaced during the summer of 2021 at an estimated cost of $900,000.

Winneshiek County Engineer Lee Bjerke wants to have the Pole Line Road Bridge replaced in 2022, but the County's $595,000 annual allocation to its Highway Bridge Fund is now struggling to keep up.  Bjerke talked with county supervisors about state funding on Monday, unveiling a plan which would have the county ask for $1,172,000 in additional funding from the state.  As large as that sum is, the new bridge comes with an estimated cost of $2.6 million.  The county has already been awarded $828,000 from the state, but even if the county is successful in acquiring the additional $1,172,000 from the state, an estimated $600,000 will still need to come from the county's Highway Bridge Fund.  

Bjerke says his department has been working since 2011 on plans for the new Pole Line Road bridge and he'd like to tackle that project before the Pole Line Road bridge decays to a point of requiring a weight restriction.