MILAN — Bone-chilling winds have swept down Lac qui Parle Lake much of this past week, funneled right at the workers replacing the Milan Bridge.
The unpleasant weather is kind of par for the course: The Robert R. Schroeder Construction Company crew from Glenwood lost 35 work days last year due to high water and unfavorable weather last year.
That project is now on track for completion in mid-June, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 office in Willmar. Workers at the site said they are planning to pour concrete for the new bridge deck starting Monday. The pour would have started this week were it not for the cold temperatures.
The $7.7 million project involves replacing the 1939 steel, overhead truss bridge with a concrete span. The new bridge will feature a 34-foot-wide traffic road with shoulders and seven-foot wide sidewalks on each side. For all of its nearly 80 years, the original bridge was a popular spot for anglers to drop their lines. The wide sidewalks will allow the practice to continue.
The new bridge will span 160 feet from abutment to abutment, or about 40 feet longer than the original. Its deck is also 1½ feet higher, allowing for more water flow.
The project also involves restoring the Works Progress Administration stonework at the bridge. Water levels on the lake are receding, which means the rock work should begin soon. The rock work is expected to be completed in mid- to late August, according to MnDOT.