Iola bridge built in 1927
By Holly Neumann
A public meeting was held on Feb. 6 to discuss a bridge replacement project scheduled for the summer of 2020.
The structure is located on State Highway 49 over the South Branch of the Little Wolf River, between Depot and Mill streets in Iola.
Roxann Cuty, project lead from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, as well as Beth Nemec, structure manager, and Ryan Barz, project manager, gave an update on the project.
“We are looking at replacing the structure that goes under Highway 49,” Barz said. “That structure requires attention, and it is more cost effective to replace it.”
Barz noted areas of concern included rusting bridge rails and cracking concrete. The river bed around the foundation needs reinforcement and the approaches are cracking.
The bridge was built in 1927, with expansions in the 1970s.
“What we are looking at doing is removing the existing arch and a new slab span bridge will be installed,” Barz said. “The opening over the waterway will be larger.”
The new bridge will include two 12-foot travel lanes, decorative railing, on-street parking, sidewalks on both sides of the road and curb and gutter.
The project will also include resurfacing the approaches on both sides of the bridge.
“Sidewalk configuration will be pretty similar to what is out there right now,” he said.
Some real estate may be acquired from the Veterans Memorial Park and from Wipf Mills historic property.
According to Barz, design work on the project is about 40 percent complete.
The goal is to finish the preliminary plans by the summer of 2018, with the final plans by November 2019.
“As the project progresses, we will be in constant contact with the village,” Cuty said. “We are currently working with the village on the aesthetics of the bridge.”
The project is currently scheduled to begin in 2020, following the Iola Car Show.
Resident Jim Aanstad asked if the current bridge is structurally sound enough to last until 2020.
“If there was some problem, they would have moved it up on the schedule,” Cuty said. “We will continue to maintain and monitor it.”
Questions about the project may be emailed to Wendy Arneson at Wendy.Arneson@dot.wi.gov or to Barz at Ryan.Barz@aecom.com.
The new bridge is expected to last about 75 years.