Graham Kilmer
Transportation

Bridge on North Ave. is “Functionally Obsolete”

Replacement needed for portion of North Ave traversing the Oak Leaf Trail.

By - Dec 18th, 2019 12:17 pm
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Location of the bridge on North Avenue. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Location of the bridge on North Avenue. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

If you’ve noticed construction on North Avenue between Oakland Avenue and the Milwaukee River, well, that’s only the beginning.

Emergency repairs are being done on the bridge that traverses a section of the Oak Leaf Trail, just east of N. Bartlett Avenue and west of N. Oakland Avenue.  These repairs are temporary, however: just to hold the bridge over for another couple years. In 2022, Milwaukee County will undertake a complete rebuild of the bridge.

Why is the county instead of the city handling this? Because North Ave. is a county highway. (The bridge also traverses a bike trail that the county parks department owns and maintains, along with the “air rights” above it.)

The rebuild of the bridge will start in late winter or early spring 2022 and should be complete by Memorial Day weekend, weather permitting. Otherwise, at the latest the project will be done by the Fourth of July.

“The bridge is functionally obsolete,” said Yan Nenaydykh, executive vice president of Bloom Companies LLC, the engineering consultant based in Wauwatosa that is designing the bridge redevelopment. The deck, or top concrete layer, is falling through the bridge creating large holes. Some of them are roughly a foot wide. And the 50 ton girders that make up the superstructure of the bridge have concrete falling off and need replacement.

For now, construction crews are pouring concrete to repair holes in the deck near the ends of the bridge. “The bridge needs to survive three more years,” Nenaydykh said.

The complete repair in 2022 will cost approximately $1 million. The State Department of Transportation will pay 80 percent and the county will cover the other 20 percent of project costs. 

During construction of the new bridge in 2022 one block of North Avenue will be completely closed off. Nenaydykh said this will expedite construction, and allow the project to be completed faster.

Westbound traffic will be detoured south down N. Farwell Ave., then west along E Windsor Pl.,  then North on N. Newhall Ave. until it reconnects with North Avenue. Eastbound traffic will be detoured south down N. Cambridge Ave., then east along E. Windsor Pl., then North on N. Prospect Ave. until it reconnects with North Avenue.

Parking on Windsor and Newhall will be limited during the construction to account for increased traffic. And Cambridge and Newhall will be limited to one-way traffic along the detour.

Detour Information

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Categories: Transportation

2 thoughts on “Transportation: Bridge on North Ave. is “Functionally Obsolete””

  1. TransitRider says:

    There are typos in the 2nd-last paragraph (“east” and “west” should be interchanged). I think it should read:

    Westbound traffic will be detoured south down N. Farwell Ave., then west along E Windsor Pl., then North on N. Newhall Ave. until it reconnects with North Avenue. Eastbound traffic will be detoured south down N. Cambridge Ave., then east along E. Windsor Pl., then North on N. Prospect Ave. until it reconnects with North Avenue.

  2. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @TransitRider – You are correct. We made a confusing detour even more so.

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