Bridge work a bit behind schedule due to increased amount of deteriorated concrete

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The U.S. Highway 18 Bridge project consists of milling approximately two and one-fourth inches of concrete from the bridge deck. Areas of deterioration are then marked out on the remaining deck surface and workers remove these areas with jackhammers, explained project leader Ralph Liegel. The deteriorated concrete is caught on barges below the bridge (as shown here), then workers form a false deck bottom and pour concrete to replace the removed sections. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

Work on the eastbound lane of the western portion of the U.S. Highway 18 Bridge connecting Marquette and Prairie du Chien is nearing completion.

“The prime contractor, Zenith Tech, Inc., still has to finish up a few things under the eastern bridge, but most of the work is concentrated on the western bridge now,” by Marquette, said Ralph Liegel with Jewell Associates Engineers, Inc., the project leader who is overseeing construction work on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 

“This week,” he continued, “workers are hoping to place the concrete overlay on the eastbound lane from the Marquette side through the arched portion of the bridge. This stage is slated to be finished later next week, with traffic being switched and work to begin on the westbound lane.”

The $6.2 million project, which includes deck and bridge wall repairs, new pavement and guardrail replacement, began in March and is expected to be completed in late October. Liegel said the project has so far experienced increased quantities of deteriorated concrete, therefore putting it a bit behind schedule.

“The project consists of milling approximately two and one-fourth inches of concrete from the bridge deck. Areas of deterioration are then marked out on the remaining deck surface and workers remove these areas with the use of jackhammers,” Liegel explained. “Depths of removals differ throughout the bridge deck.  Some portions of the deck have full depth removals.”

Workers are removing the deteriorated concrete and catching it on barges below the bridge, then forming a false deck bottom and pouring concrete to replace the removed sections. 

“When all is done, a new concrete overlay will be placed throughout the deck surface, which will replace the previous milled concrete surface,” added Liegel. “The western bridge is also getting a new face to the inside concrete parapet railings.”

The rehabilitation project is intended to prolong the life of the existing bridge, which opened in 1975.

Throughout construction, the bridge has remained open to one lane of traffic, which is controlled by signals. The project was split into six stages, allow contractors room to work while keeping motorist delays at a reasonable time.

“The continued safe manner used by those driving through the project is much appreciated by all construction personnel,” Liegel said.

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