Dane County to build state’s longest bike bridge

The Wisconsin Gazette

A Wisconsin company has been awarded a bid to begin construction of the Lower Yahara River Trail, connecting Dane County’s Lake Farm County Park with McDaniel Park in the Village of McFarland.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation awarded the contract to Janke General Contractors Inc. in Athens for just over $5.9 million dollars. 

The nearly 2.5-mile first phase of the project will start this spring and includes over a mile of bridges and boardwalk.

When completed in the summer of 2017 the path will be the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge and boardwalk that has never been used by trains or motor vehicles in Wisconsin. 

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, in a news release, said, “Dane County has some of the best biking paths and access in the world, it is an important component to our quality of life that attracts many people to move and live here.” 

The Lower Yahara River Trail will link Lake Farm County Park with the city of Stoughton.

The initial construction phase of the project starting this spring will be funded with about $4.6 million of Federal Highway Administration Transportation Alternative Program dollars and $1.3 million of Dane County funds.

The county provided an additional $593,290 for design and engineering of the trail. 

The trail will also include an accessible fishing pier near the railroad trestle on Lake Waubesa, along with rest stops and observation areas. 

Dane County Parks staff are clearing trees from the trail corridor that will be used to build timber frame shelters at other county parks and for a fish habitat improvement project on the north shore of Lake Waubesa. 

Dane County Parks has been planning the project with bicyclists, as well as transportation officials, engineers, the UW Milwaukee Cultural Resource Management Department, Ho-Chunk Nation, the Army Corps of Engineers and the state historical society.