Beech Street Bridge Update: Working Hard Toward A Replacement

Not surprisingly, there are lots of folks wondering “what’s next?” for the Beech Street foot bridge over Oak Creek. I am one of those people, and continue to press the county for action.

Here is an update from County Supervisor Patricia Jursik …

The Parks Department has gotten initial estimates on the bridge replacement. The figure is in the ball park of $150,000. The bridge can no longer just be repaired as it was last time in 2010 when the flood washed it out. It will now need new bridge footings.

We have been exploring how to pay for this cost since it was not in the county budget. The Parks Department has said they do not have “cash” to pay for this. Parks is exploring whether there may be excess funds available in our capital budget. (This occurs when we borrow for other projects that do not cost as much as planned. Typically the county has excess funds in almost every year because of the amount of borrowing we do in both Parks and Highway among others.) The good news is that replacement of a bridge is an appropriate project to use capital funds (IRS rules).  

I know the City of South Milwaukee would like this bridge replaced ASAP since there are so few routes across the creek for the subdivision in question.  There is an estimate from the schools that about 200 children live in the subdivision and need to have access to a crossing without going to either Rawson or College.  

If county officials can be convinced this is an emergency need, there could be an argument to get cash out of the county’s contingency funds, and it could be done without going through a lengthy RFP process. Without this classification, all projects must go through standard channels that require an RFP. If the county must go through our standard procedure, it will be nearly impossible to get this done by September. As it stands now, we should be signing contracts and getting the work started immediately to meet a September deadline.  

So, where do we go from here? Supervisor Jursik pledges to continue to push hard to get this repaired as soon as possible, and I will stand beside her in making this case with the county executive and others.

We both know how important this bridge is, not just for school traffic, but for all of the recreational users of the Oak Creek Parkway – from joggers to bicyclists to dog walkers.

We will keep you updated throughout the work to replace it.

Also of concern are reports that people (especially kids) are going around the barricades and using the closed (and unsafe) bridge anyway. I have asked the county to step up efforts to prevent this. While the closure is frustrating, we can’t have people ignoring the signage and attempting to cross the bridge. It’s too dangerous.

We ask for patience. This bridge must be fixed for the long term, and done the right way.


Filed under Milwaukee County, Parks, South Milwaukee

5 responses to “Beech Street Bridge Update: Working Hard Toward A Replacement

  1. Bob

    Now the Mayor says the bridge is too dangerous ?? Is he an Engineer ?? Spending $150k for a foot bridge is ridiculous ! What do they plan to make it out of ? Gold Bricks ? Its sickening the way the County and State Waste $$$ .

  2. You are correct: I’m not an engineer, but I trust the ones who have looked at the bridge and say it’s too dangerous. I also trust their cost estimates. I have to.

  3. Rick

    Is Jursik preparing a case that will show that this is an “emergency” project that would take money out of contingency?? In her quote above, she did not say that was her strategy. It only said “If the County officials can be convinced…..” The County removed the bridge on Friday as it is sitting on the grass on the west side of the creek.

  4. Rick: Yes. She and I are seeking a formal meeting with the county executive and others later this week.

  5. Peggy

    With summer school and summer fun camps approaching at the high school, and Rockets baseball season in mid-swing, let’s hope this bridge is replaced very soon (and w/o an RFP) so kids and adults do not have to walk to College or Rawson Avenues. What other county officials, beside our county board supervisor and county executive, need to be convinced this is an emergency project?

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