Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Bridge to Nowhere

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 One thing that has changed since last year was that the State of Wisconsin repealed the prevailing wage law for local projects.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?

New Plan for Old Theater

There was some movement (sort of) on the West Bend Theater and the Bridge to Nowhere during the Council meeting tonight. The Washington County Insider has the details.

Dec. 19, 2016 – West Bend, WI – During Monday night’s West Bend Common Council meeting an update about the downtown Business Improvement District (BID) and its timeline on removing or refurbishing the pedestrian bridge morphed into a proposal about the future of the West Bend Theatre.

David Stroik, president and CEO of Zimmerman Architectural Studios made the presentation. He outlined saving the façade of the theatre along with the iconic marquee and turning the rest into an open-air park.

“In a way it’s like a Western storefront but the façade of the building and the easterly 12 – 15 feet would be saved,” said Stroik.

Drawings showed the front of the theatre building intact with trees and green space visible through the door frames.

Stroik said the 3-story brick façade, which previously housed the projection room for the theatre, would help maintain the structural viability of the building; he said that space could eventually hold restrooms.

Movement on Bridge to Nowhere

I was just out on the Eisenbahn yesterday and snapped this picture of West Bend’s Bridge to Nowhere.


As the air begins to turn a little cooler and the leaves on the trees begin to fall, I was reminded that it is the middle of September and nothing has happened with this bridge. As a quick refresher, this bridge hasn’t been in use for a decade and the city was going to tear it down in January. A group of folks who want it as part of a refurbishment project for the West Bend Theater convinced the city to hold off on the demolition and put up a surety bond to that effect. The city agreed, but gave them a year to get something going with it. It has been 8 months and I haven’t seen any movement whatsoever on the project other than the group running it changed their name and makeup.

Well, it appears that something is happening. Here’s news from the Washington County Insider:

The West Bend Common Council will go into adjourn into closed session Monday night to discuss the bridge and the Downtown West Bend Theatre.

We’ll see what happens.



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