Black Otter Lake bridge nearly completed
By Scott Bellile
After missing a goal of Thursday, Nov. 5, for completing repair work on Hortonville’s Black Otter Lake Dam, village officials hope the bridge on South Nash Street will be open to traffic this week.
“If everything goes smooth, we should be open by [Friday, Nov. 13], thank God,” Hortonville Public Works Director Carl McCrary said at the Nov. 5 village board meeting.
Lunda Construction recently encountered missing parts on the job and thus experienced “a couple of wasted days” while waiting for those parts, McCrary said.
McCrary said Nov. 5 was not a project deadline but rather a projected date.
“It wasn’t written in stone. I was trying to give you the best idea I could,” McCrary told the board.
The tentative schedule for this week, after the Press Star went to print, called for disassembling the crane by Wednesday, Nov. 11, and then opening the bridge to traffic the night of Thursday, Nov. 12, or on Friday, Nov. 13.
The project was initiated because the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources gave Black Otter Lake Dam a High Hazard rating in January 2013. A dam failure analysis found there to be a risk of flooding to nearby homes in the event of a dam failure.
The repairs being done are temporary until Outagamie County can replace the bridge in within the next five years.
Work started May 1 under a DNR Mandate and was slated to finish in August. Early on Lunda discovered erosion around the abutment wall, so work was delayed for several weeks this past summer while a new plan was formulated.
Village workers said it’s been stressful because as the delays continue, residents get mad.
“Tempers are at an all-time high. A few more days and we’ll be out of there,” McCrary said last week.
Mill St. rumor
McCrary denied rumors circulating around Facebook that a bridge on South Mill Street is cracking due to heavy detour traffic during the Black Otter Lake Dam repair.
The Nov. 2 post generated more than 30 comments and 50 shares.
A Hortonville woman posted two photos of the Mill Street bridge with text implying the bridge cracked because traffic increased on Mill Street this year. She called it “quite scary” and said she will avoid the bridge.
McCrary said things aren’t the way they appear.
“That’s an expansion joint. Every bridge has one,” McCrary said. “Somebody called Madison, wanted to talk to Gov. Walker, and said we were destroying the bridge. Yeah, that ‘crack’ is not a crack. It’s just where the bridge deck sits on the bridge abutments. There has to be a joint there.”
McCrary did, however, share plans to install signage on Mill Street forbidding large trucks from passing through. Truckers recently used the local residential detour route on Mill Street rather than the official construction detour of Industrial Park Avenue to County Highway TT.
“A semi shouldn’t go through a residential neighborhood, period,” McCrary said.
Village Administrator Diane Wessel clarified that a local residential detour means the driver’s destination is in the neighborhood of the local detour. “Local traffic only” does not permit all Hortonville residents to use the detour, she said.