JANESVILLE

Removal of the Milwaukee Street bridge in downtown Janesville has been on hold for about six weeks, but work is expected to resume sometime this week.

Contractor Zenith Tech had planned to drop pieces of the bridge onto barges, but the water has been flowing so fast that it raised safety concerns, said Jim Simpson, project manager for the state Department of Transportation.

The concern was that the barges could break free in the current, said Paul Woodard, city director of public works.

Zenith Tech submitted a change in its erosion-control plans Tuesday, and the state approved them, Simpson said.

Zenith plans to move equipment to the bridge Wednesday and begin demolition Thursday, Simpson said.

The plans calling for removing the two middle bridge arches with cranes and then using barges for the remaining two spans on either side of the river, where the flow is not as fast, Simpson said.

The 105-year-old bridge likely will be cut into 4-foot-wide sections with a backhoe-mounted chisel, and cranes will transfer those pieces to trucks, Simpson said.

Debris from the spans nearest the shoreline will be dropped onto barges, and cranes will unload the barges onto trucks, Simpson said.

Zenith’s plans indicate the removal could be completed in about four weeks, but work will continue through the winter and spring, barring weather delays, Simpson said.

Zenith is also the contractor for the replacement bridge, Simpson said. The contract calls for work to be completed by June 21.

Zenith Tech could be penalized $2,070 per day for every day past that date, unless the state grants the company an extension, Simpson said.

The project is behind schedule, Simpson said, but he has not yet talked to the company about whether it can catch up.

Woodard suggested one way to catch up could be to add shifts or overtime.

The bridge replacement is part of the city’s ARISE riverfront revitalization plan.

The bridge was built after a fire destroyed buildings on the previous bridge in 1913.

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