THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Artist drawing of bridge monument.
New Peshtigo Bridge Opens Officially Oct. 12
Issue Date: October 3, 2012
Peshtigo Mayor Al Krizenesky announces that after four months the new Peshtigo Bridge will officially open at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
The first traffic across the bridge will be kindergarten classes from Peshtigo Public School and St. Thomas Aquinas. The first bicycle will be ridden by Ron Leyo of Peshtigo and the first vehicle will be a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Peshtigo. The first car to cross still has to be selected.
While the bridge is open to traffic, lights on the bridge still have to be installed as well as coloring of nearby rocks.
Dedication of the monument at the bridge will be marked by a ceremony of the Peshtigo Historical Society on Monday, Oct. 8, date of the historical Peshtigo Fire of Oct. 8, 1871. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Fire Museum with a welcome by Margaret Wood, secretary. Bob Couvillion, historian, will ring the bell following by singing of Amazing Grace led by Rosemary Leslie and Peshtigo High School Music Department under the direction of Danny Smith.
It will be followed by a candlelight walk to the Riverfront Park at the bridge where the monument is located. Arrival at the site is 7 p.m. where presentation of the American Flag will be made by David Springer, followed by greetings from master of ceremonies Margaret Wood. Glow sticks for the walk are donated by Badger Credit Union. Persons can also bring flash lights for the walk.
Pastor Jean Waldron will give a prayer and moment of silence in honor of all those who died in the Oct. 8, 1871 Peshtigo Fire. It will be followed by the National Anthem played by the Peshtigo High School Music Department.
Speakers will include Mayor Krizenesky, Steven Noel, retired from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation who was the development supervisor and monument designer, followed by Pat Roland, president of the Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce as well as other dignitaries and speakers. America On Parade will be played by the band followed by ribbon cutting and playing of God Bless America.
After the dedication program, a reception will be held at City Hall where cake and refreshments will be served.
During the past year, Peshtigo residents had to use the U.S. 41 by-pass to reach one side of the river to the other, a distance of about six miles. Work began June 11 and originally was scheduled for completion by Sept. 14. However, weather and other delays required several extensions as the river was drawn down to allow for construction and maintenance of the Wisconsin Public Service hydro-dam in Peshtigo.
However, pedestrians had an easier way to cross the river as BPM Inc. allowed use of its railroad bridge across the river. Sheeting over the tracks, electrical lights, signs and fencing were all donated. It was used heavily during the new bridge construction.
There was also free bus service seven days a week to transport residents to various business places, apartments and churches.
The total project involving the bridge and 2.1 miles from South Dolan Ave. to Old Peshtigo Road cost $3.8 million. The bridge replacement was $2.4 million and $1.4 million was for roadway work.
A short history of the bridge indicated the bridge was first built in 1924, expanded in 1956 and was rebuilt in 1985 until being replaced by this new bridge in 2012.