Oregon/Jackson Street Bridge crosses the Fox River in downtown Oshkosh, Winnebago County.
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The existing bridge was constructed in 1956 and is nearing its service life. While the bridge is still safe for all travel, a recent investigation of the bridge has identified a number of issues that need to be addressed. WisDOT is leading an environmental study that is investigating a wide range of improvement alternatives including:
- A no-build alternative
- Rehabilitating the existing bridge
- Replacing the bridge on the existing location
- Replacing the bridge on a new location
You can view all alternatives currently under study at the alternatives and maps page.
- Multiple improvement alternatives are currently being evaluated
- A preferred alternative is expected to be identified by spring 2017
- Completion of the environmental study is targeted for fall 2017
- Construction of bridge improvement is scheduled to begin in summer 2022
While the bridge is safe for use, there are numerous deficiencies with the existing bridge that need to be addressed. It accommodates roughly 11,000 vehicles per day, while also providing a vital connection for pedestrian and bicycle traffic in the downtown area.
The purpose of the project is to continue providing a safe, reliable crossing for Oregon/Jackson Street over the Fox River. Any bridge improvement must address structural and geometric deficiencies of the existing bridge, maintain safe access and passage for all users including motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, persons with disabilities, and waterway users, meet transportation demand, and comply as much as possible with all state, regional and local plans, including city redevelopment planning.
Current bridge deficiencies
The Oregon/Jackson Street Bridge has a number of deficiencies that have been grouped into three general areas: deficiencies, operations, safety.
- Movable bridge machinery shows signs of wear and corrosion and needs replacement
- Deterioration of tack welds and steel plates require repair
- Cracking and spalling on concrete surfaces of bridge piers
- Sidewalks are less than the standard widths
- Approach spans and sidewalks need repair
- Vertical profiles of roadway approaches are below current design standards
- Bridge tender has poor visibility to monitor vehicles and pedestrians when raising the bridge
- Low vertical clearance – Bridge had 400 more openings in 2015 than adjacent bridges
- Vehicle crash rate is above statewide average for similar roadways
- Bridge railing of bascule span is offset into sidewalk, creating potential hazards for pedestrians and bicyclists
- Narrow lane and sidewalk widths do not provide safe bicycle accommodations
- Riverwalk pedestrians and bicycle traffic are required to cross road at grade (cannot cross under bridge), creating a mid-block, at-grade pedestrian crossing
- Steel grid panels in deck are offset and present a hazard to bicyclists
- Approach sidewalks have settled and present a tripping hazard
Benefits of replacement or rehabilitation improvement alternatives
Any bridge replacement option has the following benefits:
- Improved safety – A desirable width and profile that should improve safety for all users.
- Replacement options increase the bridge width to accommodate 11-foot travel lanes as well as 5-foot bicycle lanes and 6-foot sidewalks on both sides.
- Improved traffic flow/boat passage – Allows for the potential to improve navigation clearance for boaters.
- Current navigation clearance is 2-3’ less than adjacent bridges. An improved navigation clearance results in less delay for boaters and less traffic congestion in the downtown area from bridge openings.
- Improved multi-modal opportunities - Better accommodations for bicycle and pedestrian travel and links to the river walks on both shores, including the potential to separate the river walks under a new bridge.
- Less future impact – Provides a bridge life of roughly 75 years before the next major bridge improvement is required.
- Under a rehabilitation scenario, a complete replacement could be postponed for approximately 25-30 years, but replacement will still be required at that point.
A bridge rehabilitation option has the following benefits:
- Cost – Based on initial study estimates, a rehabilitation option addresses the bridge structural deficiencies at a lower initial cost than the replacement options.
- Real Estate – A rehabilitation option requires less real estate than any replacement option that involves a new alignment or a raised profile.
Bill Bertrand, WisDOT Project Manager
Charles Karow, WisDOT Project Supervisor
Mark Kantola, WisDOT Northeast Region Communications Manager
Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT)
944 Vanderperren Way
Green Bay, WI 54304
Phone: (920) 492-5643
Fax: (920) 492-5640