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Funding rejected for Watertown Plank bridge in Elm Grove

Watertown Plank Road bridge that runs over Underwood Creek in Elm Grove will not be replaced. Elm Grove officials are deciding on the next step to replace or repair the structure.

Watertown Plank Road bridge that runs over Underwood Creek in Elm Grove will not be replaced. Elm Grove officials are deciding on the next step to replace or repair the structure. Photo By C.T. Kruger

Jan. 29, 2014

Elm Grove's request for $580,000 from the state to replace a bridge on Watertown Plank Road has been denied, likely delaying the project for at least another year.

The bridge, which crosses Underwood Creek in the 13400 block of Watertown Plank, was ranked sixth on a list handed to the Department of Transportation of bridges in need of repair or replacement, as judged by the county. The state funded only the top three projects, leaving Elm Grove short of funding, Village Manager Dave DeAngelis said.

"At least as far as I've looked, I haven't found any other funding options, other than funding the whole thing ourselves," DeAngelis said.

The village's funding request was to cover 80 percent of the project cost, through the DOT's Local Bridge Improvement Assistance program. DeAngelis said the village would apply again at the next opportunity, in 2015.

In the meantime, DeAngelis said the village would consider doing a temporary repair on the bridge. The damaged part of the bridge is blocked off from traffic to keep the load off, so DeAngelis said there isn't an immediate safety hazard.

The 50-year-old bridge was targeted for replacement after an inspection by Collins Engineering in 2012 found it was "structurally deficient." The bridge was cracking and peeling, with pieces of it falling into the creek and the steel corroding on the north side of the bridge.

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