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Village Board Agrees to Second Opinion of Bridge, But Not on the Village's Dime

Residents pay for another engineer to examine Bridge Lane Ravine Footbridge in an effort to kick-start a decision.

Two Fox Point couples will split a bill of just under $10,000 for a second opinion on the , which has been closed since October.

"We need a second opinion," Fox Point resident Jack Bryson said at the Village Board meeting Tuesday night. "Tearing the bridge down to repair it, engineering-wise, it's not logical. We're going to get them a second opinion, that's what they should have had in the first place."

However, one Fox Point resident said that the bridge is not as high a priority as other projects in these tight fiscal times.

"There are other infrastructure needs in this village besides a walk bridge," Fox Point resident Bob Cory said. "An example: in the winter time, take a ride on Calumet Road, from Port Washington to Lake Drive.

"If you wear dentures, they'll be on the floor of the car, it's so bad. That's infrastructure. We don't need a footbridge. Let's quit messing around with a silly walk bridge and take care of other infrastructure."

Village Board President Michael West said that with his background in engineering, he has been making phone calls for referrals to different contractors, trying to solicit opinions in an effort to get the bridge decision moving.

"I have attempted to find a contractor who is knowledgable, who is willing to give us expert advice on construction means and methods on this bridge that ," West said. "I am working through referrals, I am not making cold calls. I'm getting close... I'm working on it."

But residents Mary and James Connelly and Cissy and Jack Bryson said that they've already found someone to render a second opinion. These two couples will together pay about $10,000 to .

"What I don't understand, (West) says he's talking to contractors that will do it, that's the same thing that we brought this other person in," Connelly said. "It just seems like a dichotomy that they've hired Ayers, and this is what they want done, no matter what we do and what we say."

Newly elected trustee Christine Symchych agreed to the need for a second opinion.

"The one proposal that we've had and been considering for too long is what I would characterize as kind of a slash and burn proposal," Symchych said. "It's a way to accomplish, to get us to a certain end point. I feel like we would be extremely remiss in not looking at this as an alternative to get to the same end point."

The Brysons and Connelleys said in a prior board meeting that if necessary, they would fund a second opinion of the bridge by Neelan — but that didn't mean they wanted their funding to be the first option. At tonight's meeting, Trustee Bill Warner offered a motion to review a presentation from Neelan but only to be funded by the Connelleys and Brysons — not the Village of Fox Point. That motion was passed unanimously.

"I think it's just (that) they have to do it to appease us, then they're going to do what they want," James Connelly said.

So, with the board's approval Tuesday night, Neelan will create a second proposal as to how to make the bridge usable, but West, with the help of Village Attorney Eric Larson, have the following requirements that Neelan needs to meet before he can begin inspecting the bridge:

  • A safety plan submitted to the board for review.
  • Notification of the date and times that Neelan and/or his crew will be investigating the bridge.
  • A general liability certificate of insurance with Fox Point named on it.
  • Indemnification.

West suggested, if possible, that Neelan's report be presented at the next Village Board meeting scheduled for June 14.

Dave Koven May 11, 2011 at 02:16 PM
Absolutely fix the bridge, but do it in increments, as money becomes available. While the bridge is a Fox Point icon, it is not a high priority item from a budgetary point of view. It appears to me that there is no hurry.

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