A $1.3 million bridge replacement project will involve no local funds.
The Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors Monday approved an agreement for the new bridge on Pole Line Road about 1.5 miles west of Decorah.
The project has been awarded $828,000 from the state's county bridge fund. Winneshiek County Engineer Lee Bjerke said the county has never received money from the fund in the 12 years he's been submitting applications for them. He said points are based on size of the structure, traffic and the detour involved.
Counties compete for money from the $2 million fund, and the Pole Line project received the most points of any application submitted in the latest round of applications. Bjerke said the county would use its federal Surface Transportation Program money as the $472,000 "match" for the project.
"If we're lucky, the bridge will come out in the summer of 2014. It's going to take a full summer to get it done," Bjerke said.
The reconstruction of Pole Line Road is scheduled for fiscal year 2015 under the county's five-year plan, and Bjerke said he's working to move the project ahead to fiscal 2014.
"So when we shut the road down, we can do the asphalt and bridge work both at the same time, and we're shutting it down for one summer instead of two," he explained.
The Pole Line Bridge was constructed in 1941. While it's structurally sound, it is "functionally obsolete," Bjerke said.
Although the county has other bridges in worse condition that need to be replaced, they don't qualify for the state's county bridge fund.
"We're taking advantage of money we don't ever get ... this year we got it," Bjerke said.
The engineer said the Pole Line Bridge's steel beams are getting rusty and it probably won't be long before weight restrictions need to be imposed.
Because the bridge handles a significant amount of traffic, Bjerke said the new proposed concrete beam bridge would be wider and longer. The bridge is currently 290-feet long, and the new bridge will be at least 300 feet long, he said.
Because of the size of the project, Bjerke said he'd likely be collaborating with a consultant on the project.
"The spans go pretty long and I want to minimize the piers in the river," he said.
Bjerke said ideally a bid-letting would take place a year from now, but adhering to federal guidelines for wetlands and archeological impact could take time.