Marquette-Joliet Bridge construction starts March 23

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Late last week, the more than 5,000 motorists who cross the Marquette-Joliet Bridge each day were greeted with signs warning of upcoming construction. Extensive work on the bridge is set to begin on Monday, March 23, and could take up to seven months to complete. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Ted Pennekamp and Audrey Posten


Work on the Marquette-Joliet Bridge connecting Marquette and Prairie du Chien is set to begin Monday, March 23.

According to a project proposal from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), work will include deck and parapet repairs, new pavement and guardrail replacement, as well as pier and abutment repairs on the bridge’s underside. 

“The work will consist primarily of removing a concrete overlay from the deck surface, removing and repairing deteriorating concrete from the deck surface, and placing a new concrete overlay driving surface. Concrete parapets will also be repaired in locations where the concrete is deteriorating.  It is not a reconstruction. The work is intended to prolong the life of the existing bridge,” said Tim Maedke, Wisconsin DOT project manager.

Maedke said the low bid for the project was $6,185,000.

In communication with the city of Marquette, the DOT said the project is anticipated to take up to seven months to complete.

“The project will be open to one lane of traffic at a time with that traffic being controlled by signals,” Maedke said. “Due to the lengths of the structures it will be divided into six stages to allow the contractors room to work while keeping motorist delay at a reasonable time. Because work zones are long, motorists should expect delays at the traffic signals.”

Crawford County Highway Commissioner Kyle Kozelka said the Sturgeon Slough parking lot between the Iowa and Wisconsin portions of the bridge will be closed to the public so equipment can park there.

The project is being paid for by a combination of federal funding, and funding by the state of Wisconsin and the state of Iowa, said Maedke. The Wisconsin DOT has hired a consultant to administer the project on its behalf.

The Crawford County Highway Department and the Clayton County, Iowa Highway Department will be kept up to speed on the project but it is a state administered project, said Maedke.

A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for March 19 in La Crosse, Wis.

“We always appreciate it when media reminds motorists to be patient, slow down, and pay attention,” said Maedke. “There will be delays.  Unfortunately there are limited opportunities to cross the Mississippi River so closing the bridges and providing a detour was not seen as a viable option for traffic control.”

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