How much for a lift? The bridge on St. Paul Avenue in the Third Ward. Photo by Ben Halpin. When rehabilitation begins on the Pleasant Street bridge this fall, it will be the 10th of the city’s 21 movable bridges to undergo major work since 2000. Repairs of these crossings of the Milwaukee, Menomonee and […]


How much for a lift? The bridge on St. Paul Avenue in the Third Ward.
Photo by Ben Halpin.

When rehabilitation begins on the Pleasant Street bridge this fall, it will be the 10th of the city’s 21 movable bridges to undergo major work since 2000. Repairs of these crossings of the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers don’t come cheap. The price tag is $8.2 million to rebuild the aging Pleasant Street bridge spanning the Milwaukee River, and a total of $25 million for the busy Wisconsin and Juneau avenue bridges. That latter amount was offset by $21.5 million in federal dough, a big score for the city, but municipal officials still have to cough up a pretty penny each year for routine maintenance and staff.

The Department of Public Works employs some 20 folks to sit in the little control towers perched above the bridges and activate them when ships come through. (Some open by automatic controls.) Those stationed closest to the port get the big ships, like barges transporting coal destined for We Energies power plants, but those further upstream contend largely with your everyday pleasure boats, recreational yachts and the like.

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