Three Historic Bridges in Wisconsin Available for Reuse: Any Takers?

LONE ROCK, WISCONSIN- Three historic truss bridges in and around the Lone Rock area are being marketed off to those who are interested in purchasing a piece of history and repurposing it for recreational use.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is replacing three truss bridges in 2024, yet they would like to give the structures away with hopes their historical integrity are maintained under the care of the new owner(s). They are all located along Wisconsin State Highways 130 and 133, two of them span the Wisconsin River and feature multiple-span through truss spans, one of them is a pony truss span. They date back to the 1930s. All are within two miles (4km) of each other. The details are below:

Long Island/ Border Crossing:

Location: Wisconsin River at the junction WI Hwy. 130 & 133

Year of Construction: 1942

Bridge Type: Three-span polygonal Warren through truss with subdivided vertical beams, riveted connections and W-frame portal bracing

Dimensions: 682.4 feet long (212 feet per truss span); 24 feet wide

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Lone Rock Bridge:

Location: Small Branch Wisconsin River on WI Hwys. 130 & 133

Bridge type: Four-span Warren through truss with riveted connections, W-frame portal bracing and X-frame strut bracings.

Construction Date/ Builder: 1933 by the Clinton Bridge Company of Clinton, Iowa

Dimensions: 553.5 feet long (truss span 138 feet each); 20 feet wide

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Long Lake Bridge:

Location: Long Lake on WI Hwys. 130 & 133 at the entrance to Lone Rock

Bridge Type: Single-span Warren pony truss with riveted connections

Year Built: 1932 (possibly also by Clinton Bridge Company)

Dimensions: 83.7 feet (truss span: 80.1 feet) long, 20 feet wide

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According to a press release provided by WIDOT, recipients must agree to relocate the structure (or structures) to a suitable spot and assume all obligations and responsibilities for maintaining it. Funding is available for relocating the structure, yet the transfer of ownership will be made once the structures are dismantled and loaded onto the truck beds for transport to their new homes, at no additional cost. Further information on the bridges on the market can be found in the link by clicking here.

The company Michael Baker International is overseeing the project of replacing the three crossings and giving the historic structures away to the new owners. If you are interested in obtaining a package and providing proposals for relocating one or all of the crossings mentioned here, please contact Sue Barker via e-mail at: Susan.Barker@mbakerintl.com or via phone at 608-821-8712. She is your contact for additional questions and other items you may have about the bridge project. Deadline for obtaining the informational packages is October 31, 2021. Further information on the procedures to nominate parties willing to take the bridge(s) will be made available after the deadline.

Wisconsin has already had an attempt to relocate the historic Cobban Bridge in Chipewa County, only to be met with failure and the two-span Pennsylvania through truss spans being doomed to demolition. It’s scheduled to come down next year. It is hoped that something can be done with the Lone Rock crossings between now and 2024 in terms of preserving them for future use. All it takes is the will of the public and all parties involved to make it happen.

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All photos courtesy of the late JR Manning. He took the pics in 2012.