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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bridge Over the Milwaukee River

New Challenges for East Side Project

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The Humboldt Avenue bridge construction has encountered new challenges that will delay completion of the project. Jeffrey Polenske, City of Milwaukee engineer, met with area business owners last week to report on recent developments.

While attempting to lay the foundation for the new bridge, workers uncovered variable soil conditions that created obstructions and made drilling difficult. This obstacle forced project leaders to reassess the situation to avoid major underground utility locations and prompted a complete redesign of the bridge.

Construction in the tight space has been difficult for workers since they cannot keep materials on hand in a staging area. In addition, workers found contaminated materials with traces of petroleum in the soil, which they are currently removing per DNR requirements. These factors also contribute to the delay of project completion.

The Humboldt Avenue bridge, which joins the Eastside and Riverwest neighborhoods, has been under construction since September 2008. The original completion date was slated for November 2009.

There are two separate bridges being rebuilt; one covering the Milwaukee River and one over Riverboat Road. Polenske projects that the bridge over the river should be complete in December and the bridge over Riverboat Road, in June.

Results of the finished project include: a traffic signal at the intersection of Humboldt, Water Street and Kane Place, increased width of the bridge that will match the roadway, wider sidewalks on the bridges with scenic outlooks over the river and a new pedestrian stairway from Commerce Street to Riverboat Road.

The new bridge built with modern technology will be in service for at least the next 75 years. The City of Milwaukee will continue to communicate with and provide assistance to local businesses and residents affected.

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