Whitefish Bridge Remains Open though State Declared it Unsafe
By Joe Morey
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) recently notified the LCO Tribal Government that the Highway E Bridge between Reserve and Whitefish was deemed unsafe and would be closed. Brad Bise, Sawyer County Hwy Department Patrol Superintendent, told the LCO News Department on Monday, Feb. 3, the county is going to keep the bridge open.
“We’ve done some minor repairs and put some steel in place in an effort to keep the bridge open,” Bise explained. He added the bridge would be narrowed as part of the bridge would be closed. The railing on the north side would also be closed.
A new bridge was planned for construction in 2021 but Bise said Highway Commissioner Gary Gedart is working on finding emergency funding to get the construction moved up to this year.
“Gary is going through all the channels to make this happen in 2020. There’s no definitive funding at this time but we are working on it,” Bise said.
Bise also said the county plow trucks are overweight for the bridge so they plan to contract with an independent person using a pick-up truck to clear the bridge and salt it.
“The only problem with this is that we have to make sure it’s done timely,” Bise added. “Our trucks won’t clear from Jonans Road to Short Cut Road, so it may be dangerous if someone comes around one of those corners and the road isn’t taken care of. Whoever does the job will have to work with the county on this.”
Bise said he discussed it with LCO Roads but they are unable to clear that portion of County E due to insurance purposes.