BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION: SH 13 bridge in Wisconsin nears completion

Oct. 12, 2016

Two months ago, a massive storm caused washed outs; now it is ready to open again

A pair of stream crossings on SH 13  in Wisconsin between Ashland and Mellen are finally nearing completion after a 1,000-year storm caused massive washouts two months ago.

Torrential rains washed out culverts at both crossings, as well as hundreds of cubic yards of fill material from the Trout Brook crossing near North York and the Silver Creek crossing near Highbridge.

“If the weather holds … it looks like there is a very good possibility that [the bridge] will be opened by this weekend,” Ashland County Highway Commissioner Emmer Shields said this week. “It depends on the weather, but the weather forecasts say it is likely.”

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT) Northwest Region Communication Manager Diana Maas said the goal had originally been to complete the project in time for the opening of deer season on Nov. 19. According to WISDOT, the highway gets a daily volume of 2,700 vehicles between the two cities.

“This timeline is very, very quick,” Maas said. “Typically in a project, we have a six-year plan, so we have projects we’re designing and they don’t start construction till five to six years later. So the fact that we’re repairing this [now] is a really accelerated timeline, which is good.”

Maas said the project was able to move to the front of the state’s project queue because it was treated as an emergency. She also noted that County Highway C needed a large amount of work itself because of the storm damage the roadway had incurred before it could be used as a detour.

The price tag for the projects is $2.8 million for the Silver Creek project, and $1.78 million for the Trout Brook Project.

Shields said the completion of the bridgework over Trout Brook and Silver Creek would not be the end of repairs on storm-damaged roadways, and secondary roadways damaged by their heavy use as detours. That includes County Trunk Highway C, which Shields said would need to be used as a detour next year.

“There is going to be some culvert work done between Highbridge and Minersville, so part of Highway C will be used as a detour again,” he said. “But it will probably be of shorter duration, [approximately] six weeks.”

Image source: Ashland Daily Press/Jeff Peters