Village of Winneconne files motion to join lawsuit over bridge

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Winneconne, WIS. (WBAY-TV) Both the Village of Winneconne and the Wisconsin DOT agree, the Winneconne Bridge over Wolf River built back in the 30s needs to be replaced.

"The DOT has concerns about the lifespan of the bridge, beyond the summer of 18’," said Mitch Foster, Village of Winneconne Administrator

According to court documents, back in January the DOT acquired a part of Radtke Contractors’ property next to the current bridge to construct a new bridge.

The DOT has offered Radtke a number of properties it could relocate to but its owners say those properties won't allow it to keep its marine division going in Winneconne, affecting around 100 of its employees.

"A safe harbor and we need deeper water and a sea wall to come up to do all our loading and unloading of our barges," said Tom Radtke, Owner of Radtke Contractors.

So Radtke filed a lawsuit against the DOT stalling the project.

Now months later with no trial date on the books the Village of Winneconne has filed to join the DOT in the lawsuit to help move the bridge project forward.

"At this point because it's taking so long, we have to take the same stance," said Foster.

The village fears the project could lose funding if it isn't started soon.

Winneconne says the DOT would not repair the bridge if it became too costly or difficult and they would leave the center span of the bridge open closing the bridge to traffic.

“You're talking 40-45 minutes to drive around the west side of the river to the east side of the river just to go to school if you're a kid, you're talking 40-45 minutes for police and EMS," said Foster.

Radtke says he's willing to move but only for the right property.

"I've got to protect myself, my employees, my business," said Radtke.

A telephone status conference is set for the case on June 2nd.