A welcome surprise
Economic program makes bridge possible
July 07, 2010 | 08:55 AM
Linn — For quite some time, town officials have been trying to obtain the funds to replace a bridge on Mohawk Road.
But thanks to U.S. President Barack Obama's economic stimulus program, improvements to the bridge east of Swamp Angel Road are being made earlier than expected.
"The reason this came up so soon is the president released money for the economic recovery program, which is called ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)," said Jim Wolfgram, the town's highway superintendent. "This project is 100 percent paid for by the federal government."
Wolfgram said the total cost of replacing the bridge is about $207,000.
He said Concrete Structures, Janesville, started the project in late June, one week earlier than he'd anticipated.
"It's already under way," Wolfgram said Monday. "If all goes well, they should start pouring concrete tomorrow, if it doesn't rain. The timeline should hold."
He expects the project to be finished in about a month.
News of federal funding came as a welcome surprise to Wolfgram, who speculated on why the bridge replacement project qualified.
"They wanted shovel-ready projects," he said. "This one was ready to go."
Wolfgram said there are two bridges on Mohawk Road which need to be replaced. He said the bridge on the western side of Mohawk Road near Swamp Angel Road is "old and deteriorated."
However, once the project's finished, it's going to be a wider, safer bridge, Wolfgram said.
"They'll put another concrete bridge there, which will be longer and wider," he said. "This will go out to 22 feet of pavement width from the guard rails. It's going to be the legal width now."
Workers also will install new signs and guard rails along the sides of the bridge.
"Basically, it's going to look like the bridge on West Side Road, near the Highway 120 bypass," Wolfgram said.
He said the new bridge should be completed by the first week of August, weather permitting.
In the meantime, that section of Mohawk Road is closed. Wolfgram said people can use Highway B as a detour. Residents who live near the bridge — about four families on either side of the bridge — should be able to access their property, he said.
However, Wolfgram said officials haven't forgotten about the other, 8-ton bridge on the eastern side of Mohawk Road.
According to Wolfgram, that bridge was approved by the state for a bridge funding program last year. Those funds won't be available until 2011.