Meeting Will Discuss Lake Park Bridge
Historic pedestrian bridge is deteriorating, meeting will discuss options.
Milwaukee County administrators and consultants from the GRAEF engineering firm, will hold a meeting on Thursday, May 5 about planning for the historic Concrete Arch Bridge in Lake Park. It will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Marcia Coles Room, located on the lower level of the Lake Park Pavilion, and will include representatives of Lake Park Friends and other friend groups.
As Michael Horne has previously reported for Urban Milwaukee, county engineers have found “large areas of delaminations on the underside of the bridge,” meaning chunks of concrete could fall to the road and pedestrian walkway some 50 feet below. Ravine Road, located between Lincoln Memorial Drive and Lake Drive, has been closed since November 2014 following concerns about falling concrete from the bridge’s underside.
Beyond that, the bridge has a list of problems noted in his story.
The county board has allocated $400,000 to study options for repairing or replacing the 1905 pedestrian bridge designed by renowned Milwaukee architect Alfred C. Clas. The various options included everything from removing the bridge (at a cost of $120,000) to complete bridge replacement ($2.6 million), Horne reported. In January the county administration sought requests for proposals to design three new replacement bridge designs. In February, GRAEF was awarded a $170,000 contract for phase one of this effort. GRAEF was commissioned to design three alternatives to replace the architecturally significant Concrete Arch Bridge, including an exact replica as well as two other designs inspired by 19th century bridges in parks created by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Considered the father of American parks and the landscape architecture profession, Olmsted designed Lake Park in 1893 while he was also working on the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. The Olmsted firm continued overseeing the park’s design as other structures were added. Lake Park, including its five historic bridges and other structures, is the only Milwaukee County park listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also listed on the state’s historic register and within a City of Milwaukee historic district.
In 2015 GRAEF released a report on the bridge for planning purposes including several options. A public information meeting was held in October to present the study’s findings.
No bids have been sought yet for restoration of the historic bridge.
Correction: The story originally called this a “public information meeting.” But according to Karl Stave, of Milwaukee County’s Architecture, Engineering & Environmental Services, DAS – Facilities Management Division, this Thursday’s meeting is a “work group meeting in preparation for the public information meeting,” which is expected to be held in mid-May. While the public is not barred from this Thursday’s meeting, the later meeting aimed at the public will probably be of more interest to citizens.