Road closed

A section of Spooner Avenue in Altoona will be closed this summer for maintenance on a bridge.

Jon Johnson, Eau Claire County highway commissioner, said June 15 is the first day that construction can start on the 125-foot bridge. The bridge passes over Otter Creek and is at the bottom of a hill on a section of Spooner Avenue, which is also Highway A. The bridge is located just west of U.S. 53 near Centennial Park.

The contract says the project must be “substantially completed within 45 working days,” which would be mid-August, and fully completed by Sep. 4. According to Johnson, the county awarded the contract to Menomonie-based Pember Cos. at a cost of $319,000.

The work will entail fixing the concrete approaching the bridge, steel structures underneath the bridge and reconfiguring drainage plans. The bridge will not be widened or resurfaced.

Johnson said the bridge has not received this type of work since the 1980s. If repairs are correctly done this year, he said it should extend the life of the bridge by about 20 years.

The construction will affect a main thoroughfare for travel between Eau Claire and Altoona. Alternate routes include driving south past Spooner Avenue and taking Clairemont Avenue into Altoona and driving north to take River Prairie Drive into Eau Claire or Altoona.

The roadwork will likely force detours for at least two months, and Johnson understands it will be a frustrating inconvenience for drivers who won’t see tangible changes when the bridge reopens.

“We’ll try to get out of there as quick as we can,” Johnson said.