The Sauk City rail bridge demolition project is about a month in and things appear to be moving along, according to Matt Honer, who represents the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission as one of three project managers.
“Everything from my perspective appears to be on schedule,” Honer said. “I think they had some issues with equipment at one point, but the contractor seems to moving ahead on schedule.”
Preliminary site work on the bridge stabilization project began Jan. 25. Veit and Co., the contractor awarded the bid to remove the more than 100-year-old defunct rail bridge, started by creating an access road down to the bridge’s base and clearing the area of debris and brush. Next, sections of barge were brought in by the truckload and placed into the river via crane, where it was put together. This week workers were installing construction pilings by the bridge.
The project is expected to be mostly completed by the end of March.
“They have successfully mobilized to get the barges and tugboat into the water,” Honer said. “They have a temporary dock created and they have loaded the crane onto the barge. They have to develop a pier support structure for pier two, and at that point, they will likely begin removing the span.”
In 2016, high water levels in the Wisconsin River caused the bridge to shift several feet. An engineer’s study revealed pier two was failing, and removal was recommended.
Honer said the main goal of the project is to get the bridge down in a controlled manner before it falls into the river. “Safety is the no. 1 concern,” Honer said. “Things are being done according to (Department of Natural Resources) permits and environmentally conscious efforts have been made so there’s not a mess and the river won’t be affected.”