Seeley Creek Bridge Replacement Underway

UPDATE 5/4/2019

Construction of the new Seeley Creek Bridge is functionally complete. Only some minor landscaping and other small details are yet to take place in the coming weeks.

Join us for a first ride over the new bridge on May 11, 2019. The first train will depart North Freedom at 11:00 AM. Due to the step embankment on both sides of the track at the bridge’s location, there will not be a ribbon cutting ceremony. Instead, the train will slow or stop on top of the bridge for a short while to allow viewing from the train and will then continue on its normal schedule to Quartzite Lake and return to North Freedom.

MCRHS members can ride for free during this special trip. Public is also welcome aboard the first train to cross the bridge for the normal coach ticket rate of $20/adult, $17/senior, $15/student, and $10/children (3-12 yrs).

Tickets will be available at the depot ticket window starting at 9:30 AM that day. Tickets can also be purchased online using the Buy Tickets page.


UPDATE 3/20/2019

Construction is on schedule to be completed in time for the start of our season on May 11th. Join us for the first ride across the new bridge on May 11th aboard the 11 AM departure! Head over to the Buy Tickets page to reserve your tickets aboard the first train!


ORIGINAL POST

As our trains travel to Quartzite Lake, a scenic feature is crossing Seeley Creek, which is nestled in a wooded area near La Rue approximately two-thirds of the way to the end of the line at Quartzite Lake. This bridge has been in place on Mid-Continent’s rail line since 1927, serving us well for many, many years.

The piles of this bridge are over 90 years old, and the timber is over 50 years old. There is also a sharp “kink” in the track near the east side of the bridge that cannot easily be fixed with the placement of the existing bridge. In short, it was time for replacement!

bridge on Seeley Creek trestle

The 90+ year old Seeley Creek trestle’s last day in service was during Mid-Continent’s Santa Express event, Dec. 2, 2018. Jeffrey Lentz photo.

Engineering of a new bridge was completed by SW Engineers in fall 2018 and bid requests sent. The low bid was received from Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, WI., and was accepted. Construction began in December, with a completion date expected just prior to the opening of our new season in May of this year.

engineering plan view

Design of new ballast-deck design bridge over Seeley Creek.

The new bridge will be made of steel and concrete, fire resistant, and with new track alignment over the bridge and approaches. Thanks to the new bridge the stream crossing will remain a highlight of the train route for many, many more years!

Full funding for the this new bridge has already been pledged and comes from private foundations and parties, along with a grant from Sauk County.

partially removed trestle

Removal of the old Seeley Creek trestle. Jan. 11, 2019. Jeffrey Lentz photo.

aerial view of bridge site

Aerial view (looking north) of Seeley Creek work site. Jan. 11, 2019. Jeffrey Lentz photo.

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