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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
County WW Bridge
County WW Wisconsin River Highway Crossing
Brokaw, WI

County WW Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI B37011100000000
• Location: River Mile ???
• River Elevation: 1,197 Feet
• Highway: Marathon County WW, Everest Avenue
• Daily Traffic Count: 4,490 (2004)
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck
• Bridge Length: 579 Feet
• Bridge Width: 33 Feet
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: 39 Feet
• Date Built: 1967
Brokaw was founded in 1899 with the building of the paper mill. The city is a classic company town where the mill owns the property and owns many of the houses in the village. Access to the village was from the east on a narrow winding road that climbed up over Brokaw Hill, a 250 foot tall granite bluff. The hill was very dangerous given the large volume of truck traffic transporting logs to the paper mill.

By the mid-1960s, the paper mill and local residents needed better access to the highway system. US-51 was being upgraded to a freeway west of the river, and increasingly larger pulp trucks were finding the trip down Brokaw Hill to be increasingly dangerous. The solution was to extend Marathon County Highway WW west across the Wisconsin River and connect to US-51 in the Town of Maine.

The bridge is a steel girder bridge supported by several large concrete piers. The west end is cut into the side of a bluff near a gap between to adjacent bluffs. This location minimized the need for blasting a path for the road. The east end of the bridge connects to a earthen causeway 30 feet tall and approximately 750 feet long that is built across the river flats. The result is that the bridge is relatively flat despite the roadway dropping nearly 300 feet over a distance of two miles.

The village of Brokaw has seen a decrease in population. The mill has been removing houses as they become vacant. Both the store and library have since closed down. The village would probably have disbanded had it not been for a commercial area that was developed to the west of the US-51 freeway. Today, the major industry in the area is a 3M Company mine south of the village where granite is the raw material for the coating that is applied to sandpaper and grinding wheels.

The photo above is a view of the downriver side of the bridge from the southeast corner of the structure. The view is looking east across the Wisconsin River towards the village.

County WW Bridge
These two photos are the first of three photos that shows a typical bridge crossing traveling eastbound toward the Village of Brokaw. The photo above is the approach to the bridge. The photo below is a view from mid-span.

County WW Bridge
County WW Bridge
The photo above is the third of three photos showing a typical bridge crossing heading eastbound. In this photo, we are exiting the bridge and heading into the village. The photo below is a view of the north side of the bridge looking to the east.

County WW Bridge
County WW Bridge
These two photos are a typical bridge crossing traveling westbound. The photo above is the approach to the bridge, while the photo below is a view from mid-span.

County WW Bridge
County WW Bridge
The photo above is a view looking east from the southwest corner of the bridge. The photo below is the bridge plate.

County WW Bridge

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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