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County M bridge project plans materialize

Next summer, Star Prairie will be split apart.

The Apple River bridge along County Road M in the village is scheduled to be replaced in 2014. When construction is underway, community residents will not be able to easily cross over to the other side of town for about three months.

Vehicle traffic will be detoured to other local roadways during the project.

Dave Pantzlaff, manager of Wisconsin structures with consultant Ayers and Associates, and Jeff Durkee with the St. Croix County Highway Department were on hand July 10 at the Star Prairie Village Board meeting to provide an update on the approaching project.

The existing bridge is being replaced because it has been deemed to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.

Pantzlaff reported that the cost of the new bridge will be an estimated $735,000, with a contingency of $110,000. Federal funds cover about 80 percent of the total bill, he said, with the county and village picking up the remaining 20 percent of the cost.

The village ends up paying for 5 percent of the total. Pantzlaff guessed that Star Prairie taxpayers would be left to pitch in about $47,250.

As for the project timeline, Pantzlaff said final plans should be ready by Nov. 1. Bids will be let around March 11, 2014 and construction could begin sometime after contracts are signed on May 1.

From the day the winning contractor begins work, they will have three months to be done. Pantzlaff said construction work must be completed by Nov. 1.

When the new bridge is done, the roadway will be increased from the existing 26 feet to 34 feet. Sidewalks on both sides of the bridge will be expanded to six feet, instead of the present four feet.

Pantzlaff asked the village board if it favored spending a little extra money for decorative railings for the bridge, instead of the standard painted metal railings that were part of the design. Additional costs would be more than $23,000, he expected.

Board Trustee Andrew Marrier said he didn't think spending more money was necessary.

"I feel the standard railing is fine," he said. The rest of the board agreed.

Board members were warned that several trees would likely have to be removed prior to the bridge project starting. Board Trustee Gary Peterson was one resident who will likely lose trees.

Once the new bridge is completed, Panzlaff said the weight limit for the span will be 125 tons, if a hauler has a special permit. The current bridge is limited to 30 tons.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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