Dresbach Bridge Project - 2015 year in review
2015 was a milestone year for the Dresbach Bridge project, with significant progress being made and many of the final configurations beginning to take shape. Perhaps most noteworthy is the opening of the new eastbound river bridge. Crews worked hard all season to make up for lost time due to constraints caused by the weather in 2014; and a mild, late winter in 2015 allowed crews to continue working past the time when operations would normally slow. Construction work will continue this winter on the new westbound bridge and other portions of the project, and demolition work on the old bridges will begin in spring 2016.
Eastbound river bridge open to traffic
Crews completed the west abutment, pier 4, and 28 segments along with two cast-in-place segments on falsework sections on the new eastbound Mississippi River bridge (Bridge 85802), resulting in the bridge being opened for traffic in November 2015. Four closure pours requiring a high degree of precision were completed. Some painting has been done and crews are continuing to install lights on the new bridge.
All segments completed on the westbound river bridge
Significant progress was also made on the new westbound river bridge (Bridge 85801), with 80 segments being completed, along with one cast-in-place segment on falsework.
Completed the eastbound and westbound bridges carrying Interstate 90 over the railroad
Beginning in May 2015, crews placed four sets of steel beams for one bridge and five sets for the other bridge. More than 11,000 feet of steel beams plus 20,000+ bolts were used to construct the two 1,250-foot bridges. This work required close coordination with the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Completed concrete paving on westbound I-90
Crews paved the new westbound I-90 lanes from the Round Lake Bridge to the new westbound river bridge, and also paved from the west abutment to the river bridges, and up to the new bridges over the railroad.
Bat condo installation
MnDOT, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, had new bat homes installed to preserve what’s believed to be the largest little brown bat colony in Wisconsin. The installation was on the north side of the new Interstate 90 bridge abutment at the Dresbach Bridge project. The aim is to preserve the colony by providing an option that replaces the bats’ living areas once the existing bridge and roosting habitat is removed. The new home is a 4-foot-by-4-foot wooden structure mounted on posts 10 feet to 15 feet tall. An additional six bat bunkers were installed in the area as well. It is estimated that a colony of 3,000 little brown bats makes its home between the Wisconsin abutment and the first set of bridge piers of the existing I-90 bridge. The fall installation was done to coincide with the bats’ hibernation elsewhere.
Other Updates from 2015:
- Crews continued to take erosion control measures and did some permanent seeding with native grasses and forbs (herbaceous flowering plants).
- Regular bridge maintenance and inspections continued during the construction season.
- I-90 westbound motorists now travel across the new eastbound bridge and eastbound motorists travel across the existing westbound bridge.
- Access to La Crescent and Highway 61 southbound from eastbound I-90 has changed. Motorists exit left and earlier along eastbound I-90 than the previous configuration.
- The Lock and Dam and the DNR boat launch are now accessible from westbound I-90.
- Westbound I-90 to southbound Highway 61 continues to detour through Dresbach until spring 2016.
- The Traveler Information Center remains closed until May 2016.