Wausau Bridge Repair Delayed After Girder Falls in Wisconsin

Sat June 14, 2008 - Midwest Edition

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) Repairs to the McCleary Bridge have been delayed as a result of a girder falling into the Rib River, officials say.

State Department of Transportation project development supervisor Matt Bronson said a 13-ft. (3.9 m) girder weighing about 130,000 lbs. (58,900 kg) tipped and fell from its hydraulic jacks April 25 while crews were positioning it atop bridge supports.

But nobody was injured in the incident, he said.

Ron Sorenson, who was working at Rib Mountain Marine near the bridge, said a friend told him that he heard a thunder-like splash while walking his dogs in the area.

The bridge was closed to motorists when the accident occurred, and it reopened to two lanes of traffic later in the day.

The beam was broken and could be seen sticking out of the water from Rib Mountain Drive.

Bronson said crews retrieved the beam from the river April 28.

The DOT has restricted the bridge to one lane in each direction since Oct. 5 because of an unsound bridge support. The agency ordered the bridge’s builder, Pheifer Bros. Construction Co. of Neenah, to conduct and pay for repairs to the bridge, which began in November.

Bronson said he was not sure of what impact the incident will have on the scheduled reopening of all four lanes of the bridge, which has been scheduled for late June.

“We don’t know enough information,” he said.