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Yellow Lake River Bridge construction could start in August 2022. The project will be mostly funded with federal funds.

About 50 people attended the meeting at the highway department shop. Highway Commissioner Mike Hoefs gave a brief explanation of the project.

One major talking point was making the bridge more navigable for boats to go under the bridge.

Hoefs decided to bring on Ayres Associates to design the new bridge. They plan on demolishing the existing bridge and building a new 26-foot-wide bridge in it’s place.

During construction the bridge and the channel of the lake would be closed and with DNR restrictions state they cannot do any work in the water until Aug. 1.

Dan Sydow of Ayres Associates said they will be cutting it pretty close starting in August and having everything completed by winter. The bridge will be concrete, but the asphalt trucks will need to get their work done on the road before November.

Hoefs explained that Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has his department go out and inspect every bridge in the county. Then each bridge receives a sufficiency rating from 0 to 100. 100 is a brand new bridge and 0 is a terrible bridge not safe for any travel.

When a bridge score dips below 50 it becomes eligible for funding. The Yellow Lake River Bridge recently received a score of 43.8.

As soon as Hoefs received that information he began working with WisDOT and their local bridge replacement program. Funding for the bridge will be 80% Federal funds and then 10% from Burnett County and the Town of Union.

The WisDOT program will only fund minimum standards for the bridge. Associates from the Ayres explained that under the minimum standards the bridge will need to be raised to five feet above the regular high water mark, which is unknown at this time, and making the bridge 26 feet wide.

Any other improvements to the bridge will be covered by the county and Union.

The Yellow River Bridge was built in 1925 and is a single lane bridge with lots of pedestrian, vehicle and boat traffic during the summer.

There was discussion about raising the bridge, discussion about the surrounding land and where construction will be.

Sydow said they will be accepting comments through Sept. 10. At that point Ayres will start putting together preliminary plans and will bring those back to the public at a second meeting next April.

Hoefs and Sydow are accepting public comments in the mail and via email.

Contact information

Mike Hoefs, PE – Highway Commissioner Burnett County Highway Department, 8150 State Road 70, Siren, WI 54872, 715.349.2285, MHoefs@BurnettCounty.org

Dan Sydow, PE - Engineer Ayres Associates, 3433 Oakwood Hills Parkway, Eau Claire, WI 54701, 715.834.3161, SydowD@AyresAssociates.com