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Inspectors say downtown railroad bridge is safe

Posted at 3:58 PM, Apr 07, 2016

The city engineer on Thursday briefed Milwaukee’s Public Safety Committee on the status of the railroad bridge at First & Oregon Streets.

City Engineer Jeff Polenske said, while the bridge is visibly rusting and deteriorated, it remains safe according to inspection reports presented by Canadian Pacific Railroad.

CP Railroad owns the bridge, which is often used by train cars transporting crude oil.

Polenske said city engineers met with CP Railroad officials for roughly three hours last November and had the chance to look over inspection reports of the bridge.

He said the meeting gave the city assurances “that they’re doing the inspections they’re supposed to be and following up with immediate work when needed.”

Polenske said the most pressing concern with the bridge was the deterioration at the bottom of the beams that support it, which intersect with the roadway.

Polenske said Canadian Pacific encased the bases of the beams with concrete to guard against further deterioration.

He also said the city will touch base again with CP Railroad this fall for an update on any future repairs needed to the bridge. Polenske said any such repairs would likely be made in 2017.

“We’ll continue to keep in communication, certainly, with the railroad,” Polenske said.