The following update was provided by the Chippewa County County Highway Department regarding the County Highway M Bridge:
The County Highway M Bridge over the Chippewa River will have a 20-ton weight limit placed in
The bridge’s weight limit went from 40 tons down to 30 tons back on February 6, 2023 due to distortion in several of the bridge’s steel connection plates. At that time, Chippewa County contracted with a structural engineering consultant for a detailed structural analysis of the connection plates and other steel components. The recommendation from the consultant is to lower the existing weight limit down to 20 tons immediately due to the decreased load carrying capacity of these damaged connection plates.
Chippewa County Highway Department bridge inspection staff will continue to monitor the condition of the bridge to ensure it remains safe for vehicles under 20 tons in weight. We will continue to work closely with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Structures and the structural engineering consultant to determine available rehabilitation options for this 80-year old structure. If rehabilitation is found to be too costly or ineffective, the County will need to search for bridge replacement funding. At this time there is no known timeframe for any improvements that would result in removal of the 20-ton weight limit.
It is anticipated that the weight limit will not increase above 20 tons for an extended period of time. At this time, the Highway Department requests the public’s cooperation in utilizing alternate routes in order to keep all loads of 20 tons or larger off of this structure. The Highway Department understands the inconvenience this causes for some businesses; however, the safety of our citizens is always the department’s top priority. Any questions regarding this issue can be directed to the Chippewa County Highway Department at (715) 726-7914.
If there are any questions regarding this press release, please call the Chippewa County Highway Department at (715) 726-7914.