STH 35 Trempealeau River East and West Channel Bridge

Posted By: Stephanie Christensen ACEC WI News, Awards,

2024 Engineering Excellence Best of State

Entering Firm: EMCS Inc.
Client: Wisconsin Department of Transportation

STH 35 is a critical interstate link between Iowa and Wisconsin, accommodating over 7,000 vehicles daily. It connects travelers with the popular Great River Road tourist route and is a vital transportation corridor. At Trempealeau River, the bridges were deteriorating and dangerous. Any solution had to protect the river below and the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge.

Integrating the Built and Natural Environments

EMCS provided a comprehensive design with an emphasis on environmental balance. Collaborating closely with stakeholders, the team preserved public river access throughout the construction while meticulously avoiding permanent impacts on the wetlands.

The team's innovative bridge solution entails a reduced number of piers, minimizing its environmental footprint. The newly constructed bridges feature expanded shoulders and crashworthy concrete parapets, ensuring enhanced safety measures for commuters while optimizing traffic flow. The chosen design requires less ongoing maintenance, reducing lifetime costs and maximizing value. This modern design better protects users while boosting traffic flow.

Awards judge Errin Welty said “This multi-year project improved a critical rural transportation connection across the Trempealeau River and associated floodplain. Care was taken to design bridge elements for maximum safety during increasingly frequent flooding conditions, while also protecting habitat in the adjacent national wildlife refuge. The EMCS team’s thoughtful approach to marrying transportation safety, makes this a project worthy of recognition.”

Modern Design for a Modern Environment

Balancing community concerns, regulatory compliance, and environmental preservation, the successfully modernized this section of STH 35. The project stands as a testament to effective collaboration, innovative design and environmental stewardship. 

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