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The beginning of the end for Cobban Bridge?

The beginning of the end for Cobban Bridge? The beginning of the end for Cobban Bridge?

It’s something that’s been on the minds of passersby for several years now – what is going to happen to the Cobban Bridge? Constructed in 1908 by the Modern Steel Structural Company of Waukesha, the two-span, overhead truss bridge is possibly one of the last of its kind in Wisconsin.

Originally, the bridge sat over the Chippewa River up-

See COBBAN BRIDGE/ Page 3 stream from its junction at the Yellow River. It was dismantled in 1916, during the construction of the Wissota Dam, and placed in its present location, connecting County Hwy. K and State Hwy. 178.

Closed to traffic since 2017, the bridge is now facing demolition because of safety concerns. A new bridge is scheduled to replace the older model, with a set date of 2022 for removal, in a two-season project.

Working on a barge under the existing bridge for about a week’s time this May, was a crew conducting soil borings, where piers for the new bridge will be located.

“Currently, we’ve got an engineer consultant working on the design of the (new) bridge,” said Fred Anderson, Chippewa County Highway Department project manager. “As part of that design, we need to do some soil borings.”

Anderson said, while the existing bridge is going to be removed, it might not be demolished, as the highway department is putting together a memorandum of understanding with the WisDOT, Chippewa County Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation office, which Anderson says lays out the different mitigation strategies to preserve the history of the bridge.

“One of those, is basically offering the bridge up to someone… if they want to save the structure, move the structure,” said Anderson. “We kind of lay out the framework for what kind of stuff they have to do. So, it’s still a possibility.”