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What to do with old Winona bridge when new one is ready



One proposal is a pedestrian bridge

The Winona bridge project is moving ahead faster than expected.  

MNDOT project manager Terry Ward says the new span over the Mississippi could be ready for traffic by this fall.

Ward attributes part of the speed to the strategy of hiring a contractor to break down the costs for separate parts of the project.  

It’s because of that process that the proposals for renovating the current bridge are estimated at about $30 million more than planned.  

When the new bridge is finished, one option for the old bridge is to open it to pedestrians only.

That idea has been floated by citizens in the Winona area and Ward says it has been considered, but it isn’t that easy. The 75-year-old structure might not be able to withstand the weight.

“A structure that’s converted to a ped bridge, if the whole surface area of a structure is available to pedestrians,” Ward explained, “in theory, it’s higher loading than traffic, because you could have people standing shoulder to shoulder.”

Essentially, Ward says, walkers could put more weight on the aging bridge, and stay there longer, than moving traffic.

Ward says a pedestrian lane might be included as part of a renovation of the existing bridge.  

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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