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July 01, 2014 | 04:41 PM
FONTANA — Village officials closed the South Lake Shore Drive bridge after an inspection on Wednesday, June 25 found the bridge unsafe for vehicular traffic.

Village Administrator Dennis Martin said the Wisconsin Department of Transportation agreed with the engineering inspection.

For now, foot traffic is allowed across the bridge, and boats are allowed under the bridge during specified times during construction.

Cars are rerouted around the village using Highway 67 and County Highway B.

Barring other changes, boats are allowed under the bridge from 9 to 9:15 a.m., 12 to 12:30 p.m. and 5 to 5:30 p.m., as well as after the construction has ended for the day.

At a special meeting June 26, the board asked Collins Engineers, Chicago, and Scherrer Construction, Burlington, to create a plan to allow temporary access to the bridge through the summer. The board agreed permanent repairs could wait until the fall.

The plan was approved during another special meeting June 28.

The temporary repairs will allow one-way traffic over the bridge and should be done by July 3.

Tom Collins, Collins Engineers, said the company doesn’t take the decision to close a bridge lightly, but the bridge should already have been posted for light truck traffic.

“There are a lot of protocols from the DOT and other agencies that we follow,” Collins said at the meeting.

“The DOT verified our decision.”

Collins asked that the village monitor the bridge for movement daily using survey equipment.

Trustee Tom McGreevy called the closed bridge a “huge liability.”

“Can we do something immediately?” he asked.

McGreevy said he had spoken with Scherrer Construction because they’re close and can work quickly.

Todd Wilkins, from Scherrer Construction, said the company is a qualified DOT contractor and had the materials on hand for the repair work on the bridge.

“We’re mobile and ready to help,” Wilkins said. “The pricing (for a repair plan) could be done Monday afternoon.”

Craig Webster, Walworth County’s transportation liaison with the DNR, said the agency is “ready, willing and able to authorize construction as early as” June 28.

Webster said he could give verbal approval for construction when he saw the plans.

Martin said the Saturday morning meeting was well-attended, mostly by representatives from the DOT, DNR, lakeshore associations and the Abbey Marina.

Ed Synder, marina manager at the Abbey Marina, said he anticipates some phone calls but not complaints.

“We’re benefiting from the fact that it’s a Monday through Thursday thing,” Synder said June 30.

s this week,” he said.

“I’d like to give special thanks to Rep. Amy Loudenbeck and the other state agencies. I have extreme confidence they’ll get done by or on Thursday.”

Financing the project

According to the meeting minutes, during the Saturday meeting, Village Attorney Dale Thorpe said the contract includes a 15 percent markup provision “because of the unpredictability of the pilings work.”

The board approved the plan for $139,000 to $200,000.

Martin said the range is so wide because of all the different variables involved in an emergency project.

Another $10,000 was approved in case Scherrer needed a second crane. On Monday morning, Martin said the construction crew had requested the second crane.

Treasurer Scott Vilona said Walworth State Bank will provide a short-term loan if necessary at 2.45 percent interest.

In a phone call June 30, Martin said he doesn’t know what process the village has to follow to secure emergency funding from state sources.

He said getting the project started was the board’s priority last week.

Emergency response

Assistant Fire Chief Scott Peterson said the fire department was looking at temporary solutions to have emergency access to both sides of the village.

“We’re going to have delayed responses to the south shore,” Peterson said during the meeting.

“We’re looking into temporary solutions.”

On June 30, Martin said the fire department is keeping a response vehicle on the south side of the closed bridge while construction crews are working.

After the repairs are made, Martin said one emergency vehicle at a time will be able to cross the bridge safely.

Martin said the village’s emergency services are still covered through the mutual aid system, and surrounding communities have already been notified of the special circumstances in Fontana.

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