Boots & Sabers

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2124, 07 Mar 17

West Bend Bridge to Nowhere Finally Coming Down

Excellent. The long city nightmare is coming to an end.

March 7, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Recognize this guy? He’s been hired to take down West Bend’s famous bridge to nowhere.

During this week’s common council meeting a bid of $24,500 was approved for West Bend
Crane, Inc.


Awve will begin work shortly removing the bridge that runs over the Milwaukee River between Service Drive and Veterans Avenue. The West Bend Business Improvement District is on the hook to cover the bridge removal. A comment was made that they have to be breathing a sigh of relief as the initial estimate to demolish the bridge included a surety of $75,000.

The next bid received for the project was from a company out of Athens, WI. That was for $96,520.

I’m curious about the costs. The initial estimate when the city was going to tear the bridge down last year was around $75k – hence the surety of that amount. The actual cost to tear it down was less than a third of that. One thing that has changed since last year was that the State of Wisconsin repealed the prevailing wage law for local projects.

When this project was originally bid, every bidding company had to pay their workers the “prevailing wage,” which according to Wisconsin state bureaucrats, was essentially the union scale. With the prevailing wage requirement gone, bidding companies were free to pay their workers whatever they choose and price the work accordingly. I find it hard to believe that the repeal of prevailing wage would result in lopping off two-thirds of the price, but how much did it save in this deal?


2124, 07 March 2017


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