Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Wells Street Bridge over the Milwaukee River

Milwaukee, WI

Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the Wells Street Bridge sees several hundred vehicles, pedestrians and bike travelers each day. The deteriorating, three-span vertical lift bridge was in dire need of rehabilitation and structural and aesthetic improvements.

Benesch oversaw the replacement of several mechanical, electrical and hydraulic components and control systems upgrades to allow for future remote operation. Roadway approaches were also reconstructed and sidewalks and curb ramps were replaced to meet ADA compliance standards.

Safety improvements included the addition of a two-tube aluminum rail to separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the curb side of the sidewalk.

Construction in the project’s extremely congested urban environment was a major challenge. Temporary vehicle and pedestrian accommodations and extensive coordination with adjacent utility projects, including MMSD and WE Energies Steam, kept the project on schedule.


Project highlights

  • Rehabilitation of existing vertical lift bridge in an urban area
  • Maintaining pedestrian access to downtown facilities
  • New bridge control systems for future remote operation
  • Utility coordination
  • Accessibility and safety improvements