Historical Bridge Preserved While New Structure Restores Transportation to Rural Community

Posted By: Jon Olinger Blog ,

Written By: Jonathan Olinger, PE- R.H. Batterman & Co. Inc

After 110 years, it was time to upgrade the single span, single lane steel structure spanning the Turtle Creek in the Town of Turtle, Rock County, Wisconsin. The existing steel structure, originally built in 1910, was no longer adequate to meet the needs of the local community. A vital crossing for the local farming community, emergency responders, and residents, this project was imperative to the rural part of Rock County, Wisconsin.

This project replaced the existing structure with a three-span slab span structure including a super-elevated horizontal curve driving surface. The bridge project improved sight distances in the area, expanded the width for two-way travel, and increased the weight capacity of the crossing. Batterman provided construction management and materials testing services for this project.

The existing historic bridge that was a staple in the community, was relocated to an offsite location in coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Wisconsin Historical Society. As this project began in the spring of 2020, this project had a specified delayed start due to the fish spawning window. However, the existing structure relocation needed to be complete shortly after the contract was executed and before the proposed structure could begin construction.

A local farmer took ownership of the structure and relocated it to his property as a snowmobile crossing, which contributed to the complexity of this project. The intent was to complete this work during the winter months while the frost was still in the ground to avoid the 100,000 Lb. structure from damaging local roads during the move. Project staff coordinated with WisDOT SWR, Central Office, the contractor, and local authorities and was able to work with the local farmer to complete the relocation process in March and April of 2020. This relocation was successful with a two-stage process.

The state of Wisconsin and Rock County funded up to $60,000 to help preserve the bridge. As a tribute to the existing steel structure, a portion of the existing west abutment was salvaged during demolition, and a plaque with commemorative information was installed as a Wisconsin historical marker.

About the Guest Blogger:

Jonathan Olinger, PE, is a Project Engineer at R.H. Batterman and earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Platteville in 2011. Jonathan has been with Batterman for 9 years. R.H. Batterman is a civil engineering, surveying, and planning firm serving Wisconsin and Illinois since 1917. The firm provides a variety of services including civil engineering, land surveying, urban planning and design, and project management to state, municipal, and private sector clients.

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