TOWN OF NORWAY — One of the most dilapidated bridges in Racine County will finally get replaced this summer.
The 60-year-old Malchine Road bridge, a 43-foot long span that goes over the Wind Lake Drainage Canal, will be replaced beginning in June, town officials said.
Concrete Structures Inc., of Janesville, this week submitted the low bid for the project at $496,217.70, said Town of Norway Administrator Thomas R. Kramer.
Federal and state transportation money will pay 80 percent of the cost, while the town will pay the remaining 20 percent, about $100,000, Kramer said.
The project is scheduled to start June 3 and be completed by Sept. 2, Kramer said. The town purchased some land on both sides as additional right-of-way for the new bridge, and all utility work has been completed so the project can start on time, Kramer said.
A decade in the works
Starting work on a new bridge will end an almost 10-year campaign to replace the old structure.
“It seems like a little bridge, but it’s everything under the bridge that takes the time,” said Town Chair Jean Jacobson. “Using federal money for the projects adds several steps and additional work to the project.”
The town approved the replacement project in May 2008. That came after a federal inspection showed the bridge was rated in the poorest condition in Racine County.
The inspection showed the bridge, which has an average daily vehicle count of 175, was too narrow and withstanding too much capacity on a regular basis.
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The bridge received a sufficiency rating of 29 percent; any rating less than 50 is deemed poor.
The bridge has been rated as structurally deficient since 2002, federal inspections show. The last time the bridge wasn’t deficient was July 2000, when it received a 53.1 rating.
Kramer said the bridge was slated for repair in 2007, but the municipality was waiting for approval and money from the state and federal officials.
Back then, replacing the bridge would have cost about $265,000, Kramer said.
In 2012 the town replaced the bridge at Burmeister Road and hired a design engineer for the Malchine Road bridge project, Kramer said.
While the bridge doesn’t look like much, it is well-used by farmers and school buses, Jacobson said. Town officials worked with the agricultural community and school bus companies to develop alternative routes.
Jacobson said she hopes the project will start after school finishes and farmers plant their crops, and be completed before school starts and the crops get harvested in the fall.
“We have kept up a very good dialogue with them so they know exactly what will be going on,” she said.
The town will install signs at either end of the bridge alerting residents and drivers that the bridge is being repaired and when the work will be completed, Jacobson said.