WINNECONNE, Wis. — The bridge crossing the Wolf River on State Highway 116 in Winneconne, has been selected for recognition in the 2020 America’s Transportation Awards. In 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reconstructed the bridge to meet current design and safety standards. The new structure also provides safer accommodations for fishing, snowmobiling and river traffic.
The project received a regional award in the Quality of Life and Community Development category of the competition. America’s Transportation Awards is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“In addition to an improvement to the region’s transportation system, the new Winneconne bridge represents a unique investment in the community. I applaud the WisDOT staff for their vision and commitment to local partnerships,” said Craig Thompson, secretary-designee for WisDOT. “It was a challenging, imaginative project that was well executed. We congratulate everyone involved.”
The previous structure, constructed in 1934, had reached the end of its useful life. In addition, the old bridge was built close to the water and had to be raised and lowed to accommodate river traffic. The new Highway 116 bridge improves traffic flow and safety with the following features:
- A higher fixed deck, which allows river traffic to pass without raising or lowering the bridge;
- 6-foot shoulders;
- A 6-foot sidewalk on the north side; and
- A 10-foot sidewalk on the south side, which accommodates snowmobiles in the winter when conditions allow.
The Winneconne bridge is one of the few state highway bridges on which fishing is legal. The new bridge supports fishing by providing two platforms for anglers, each extending about 220 feet from the shoreline. Significant challenges during construction included environmental protection for migrating fish, extremely high water and the presence of ospreys within the work area.
The Winneconne bridge project represents an $11.4 million investment in the region’s highway network and in the community. To minimize traffic impacts during construction, crews kept the old bridge open, eliminating the need for a 25-mile detour.
“It is an honor to have one of WisDOT’s projects recognized by America’s Transportation Awards,” said Colleen Harris, director of Northeast region for WisDOT. “We are grateful to everyone in Winneconne for their collaboration during the design process and patience during construction. The result is a very special bridge that maintains the community’s tradition of fishing and using the Wolf River.”