Wisconsin Department of Transportation representatives presented plans for construction on the Highway 22 bridge at the intersection of Highway 22 and Highway 16 to Wyocena residents at an open house Tuesday.
The construction is set to begin in April and continue into June. The project will have three phases, to repair damage the bridge sustained from a logging truck collision in August, as well as raising bridge clearance from 14.8 feet to 16.3 feet, which is the current standard, said Jeremy Rach, a design engineer for the project.
Phase one of the project will begin in April with removal of concrete islands on Highway 16 off-ramps, which will allow traffic to continue using both on- and off-ramps in early phases of construction.
Phase two will repair and raise the bridge, and will shut down Highway 16’s on- and off-ramps, causing traffic from both Highway 16 and Highway 22 to be rerouted. Northbound on Highway 22 will be rerouted to Highway 51, beginning where the two highways meet in Portage. Southbound traffic on Highway 22 will be rerouted to Highway 33.
In phase three of the project, work on the bridge will be completed and additional road work to the area will begin. In conjunction with the bridgework, the crews will also be repaving the intersections at Highways 16 and 22, as well as on and off ramps, Rach said.
“They haven’t been done since 1978, so while we are out there, we will get them done,” said James Rinzel, a design engineer working on the project.
Some residents who attended the open house believe that despite any detours or traffic interruptions, the end result from the bridge work and repavement will be good.
“We made it through construction with 22 last time. We will this time, too,” said Wyocena resident Gary Gander,. “I think it will be worth it in the end.”
The project is estimated to cost between $800,000 and $1.25 million, with bridge reconstruction being entirely state-funded. Improvements to on- and off-ramps and adjacent roadways will be 80% federally funded and 20% state funded, said Michael Bie, a design engineer for the project.
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