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Collapse of small bridge near La Crosse calls attention to rural bridge conditions



A recent bridge collapse in La Crosse County is being used as an example of the poor condition of many small bridges around the state. 

The Wisconsin Towns Association is calling for inspections of smaller spans, after a short bridge over a creek in the Town of Farmington fell as a fertilizer truck was driving on it, reportedly on April 15th. There were no injuries.

The town chairman, Mike Hesse, says just one farmer uses that bridge, and the cost of replacing it might be costly to the farm, and the town government.

“In this case, it goes into this farmer’s yard,” said Hesse. “There’s no other property owners, and that would be quite a burden to put on one person.”

The estimated cost for replacing the bridge over Wet Coulee Creek is around $400,000. Because the bridge was less than 20 feet long, the town can’t ask for federal money to rebuild it.

Hesse says government rules lead to a high price tag. “If they say we have to maintain the structure that was here with the abutments and the deck, that’s where the $400,000 figure comes in,” he said.

The executive director of the Towns Association, Mike Koles, says his group doesn’t know how many small bridges are being used in Wisconsin, or what condition they are in.

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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  1. Kent Porter

    April 24, 2023 at 8:24 am


    • Rick Ingalls

      April 25, 2023 at 11:06 am

      You know that’s not true all that money goes to help the illegal immigrants and people that don’t want to work get free food and whatever else they need Do you notice the sarcasm in my voice

    • Lawrena Diamond

      April 25, 2023 at 11:08 am

      SAD ! Just SAD !!!!

    • D

      April 25, 2023 at 5:50 pm

      Fucking moron.

    • Ben S

      April 25, 2023 at 7:50 pm

      You may want to read the article. It’s a local town bridge that is used by one farmer. Not a federal or state piece of infrastructure. Nonetheless it’s good the Biden administration was able to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill where many rebuilding projects are underway.

    • Will smith

      April 25, 2023 at 10:39 pm

      Finally, someone tells it how it is!!
      I really wish more people could see and not be so blind, Biden really is garbage!

  2. Karl James Fullington

    April 25, 2023 at 5:04 am

    Any town that has had a bridge replaced within the last dozen years knows the cost of build. Glad no one gets hurt. Pull money out of the sky or ask one of the many wealthy individuals boasting how they have their accounts and toys. Don’t matter if they got a settlement, inheritance, benefit, or all of the above. Help out your damn neighbors preferably before someone gets hurt.

  3. John

    April 25, 2023 at 5:36 am

    Or Trump’s defense funding..

  4. Kevin J Raymer

    April 25, 2023 at 6:25 am

    Call your legislators in Madison and ask them what happened to the 2.7 billion allocated to Wisconsin. They are trying to buy votes by giving it back as ” tax cuts”, instead of allowing local governments to use it for infrastructure improvements as it was intended.

  5. Arthur Jackson

    April 25, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    Clearly nothing ever went into your head, Kent.

  6. Bob

    April 25, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    This is silly… While there might be infastructure issues, this is a poor example. It is basically a driveway that needs a culvert installed. How that could Cost 400,000 blows my mind. The creek is like a 2 feet wide.

  7. Perry

    April 26, 2023 at 8:30 am

    Sure did .thanks to all those suckers who voted for him!

  8. Nemo

    April 26, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    I have only one question: Does the farmer vote republican?

    Personal responsibility. If the farmer wants a bridge the farmer should pay for the bridge. That’s how free market
    capitalism works. Live by your own rules. There’s no free bridge.

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