MERRILL - One out of every ten bridges in northern Wisconsin is labeled with a troubling name.
They're called "structurally deficient."
The ten percent rate is the highest for any region in the state, according to a new study by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
The northbound Highway 51 bridge over Highway 64 is one of those bridges. About 7,800 cars pass over the bridge every day, although it's rated poor or worse on a nine-point scale.
Bridges like that one concern a state road-building advocacy group. The Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin says the results of the national bridge study are not surprising, but they're troubling.
"It's just one more data point of the condition of our roads and our bridges that's pointing out, again, that we can't put this problem off any longer. The longer we do, the more expensive it's going to be," said Craig Thompson, the Executive Director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. "Eventually, we're going to be putting safety at risk." Plans have been in the works for years to make major improvements on the bridge in Merrill, which was built in 1975.
It will undergo repairs to the abutment, improving its structure. The highway surface on ground level will also be redone, and crews will put in a roundabout. Work could start as soon as 2019.
"Overall, the DOT has been doing a good job of overseeing the projects and contracting with the private sector to get them done," Thompson said. "But they really are suffering from a lack of funding."
According to the study, Wisconsin ranks 17th in the country in number of structurally deficient bridges. Iowa is number one.
To see the full study, and look at troubled bridges across the state, click the link below.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
RHINELANDER - A snow storm caught Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander off guard last weekend and collapsed a greenhouse. Now that spring weather is here, Hanson's is ready to move forward by making some adjustments. "We got by for 25 years doing what we were doing," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. Last weekend's spring snow storm set back Hanson's. "We thought we were ahead of schedule having that greenhouse nice and filled," said Hanson's Manager Beth Hanson.
"One bad storm and there you go. Things happen," said Brent. The storm collapsed a greenhouse holding thousands of plants. "For years we've gotten by with these lighter cheaper green houses," said Brent. "We'll be down a greenhouse for a little bit here," said Beth. Now Hanson's will only use sturdier and solid greenhouses so that collapses don't become a pattern.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.