Pheifer Brothers Construction
USH 51 Bearskin Trail Bridge
The project replaced the Bearskin Trail Bridge by constructing a new three-span, 250’ long, pre-stressed concrete bridge – on a horizontal curve. The 114-foot center span allowed the piers to be set outside the clear zone, and the trail was raised about 6 feet as well. The new bridge features dramatically improved sight distance and clearance.
But the original Bearskin steel trestle bridge was a landmark for residents and tourists. For decades, the bridge has been spray-painted with “T Bird Country,” a reference to a local high school sports team. It was a symbol of the local community and was seen – quite literally – as a gateway to the Northwoods.
As removal of the structure approached, there was a public outcry to save the iconic structure. Pheifer Brothers received requests from the public to purchase the old bridge to continue its history. Instead of selling the structure, the contractor generously volunteered to donate the “T-Bird Country” beam to a group that plans to install the beam at the local high school. Pheifer Brothers attended many meetings with the school board and other local officials to coordinate the donation and ensure proper protocols were followed. This gesture was greatly appreciated and helped the project move forward.
The new bridge features field stone surface treatment and multicolor concrete stain to blend the bridge to its surroundings. Traffic was maintained both on USH 51, and on the Bearskin trail, throughout construction. Pheifer delivered the project 3 weeks early and under budget while perpetuating this iconic landmark.