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Viewpoint: Bridge building continues beam by beam

RiverTown Multimedia photo

Mark Anderson is the MnDOT construction project manager for the Red Wing Bridge project. He can be reached at 507-205-6402 or

Fall tends to signal the winding down of road construction projects in our region, but work on the Red Wing Bridge continues strong. You've likely seen the piers rising and bridge beams being placed, which gives our new bridge a much more prominent visual presence.

It's going to continue into winter.

Crews are finishing drilling shafts in the Mississippi River for Pier No. 2 and will soon be building a cofferdam around the spot. After the drilling is completed in the river, they will begin on Pier No. 1 on the Red Wing side. The building of the piers is a key point in the construction schedule.

WATCH: Overhead Footage For Red Wing Bridge Construction

Last month, you likely saw the concrete beams being placed on the Wisconsin side approach spans to the bridge. Over several weeks, long-bed semi-tractor-trailers delivered to the site 28 beams one at a time from Janesville, Wis., each beam 170 feet long and 200,000 pounds. A crane operator and crew would place and secure them.

Also occurring on the Wisconsin side last week was an emergency repair of the road at a box culvert where voids had developed under the driving surface. Crews found two voids under the pavement that were significant in size and posed an immediate danger to drivers. The emergency repairs were not convenient, but we needed to do them, which caused long traffic backups. We apologize for the inconvenience.

It's a good reminder to sign up for our email updates. Many people were aware of this work, but many others weren't. If you go to our project website or our Facebook page — both web addresses are listed below — you can stay updated when planned or unplanned disruptions occur.

You'll continue to see work advancing on the Minnesota side with the concrete pouring occurring on our retaining walls adjacent to ADM, and work on the slip ramp bridge and abutment near Red Wing Shoe.

This $63.4 million project is a strong partnership that includes the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the city of Red Wing, the Federal Highway Administration and our contractor, Zenith Tech, Inc.

As part of team's efforts, you will see Red Wing City Engineer Jay Owens and me together at various community events or on a bridge tour. We'd be happy to visit with your group or provide your organization or business with the necessary information about the project so you can keep your employees informed. We've found that if you know more about the project, you can help others understand it and minimize any possible disruptions it might cause. We do regular updates on the Community Access Channel 6, so you can catch us there as we provide updates and field questions.

We have a lot of good information that can help explain the project. You can learn more about the project or sign up for email updates by going to MnDOT's project web site or you can follow us on Facebook at