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August 29, 2016

Walking or Riding on the Bridges of Monroe County WI

Posted by: Jennifer

Sparta, WI has nine bridges that add something special to the area for transportation, recreation, connection, and the beauty of the area.

Take a look at the Covered Bridges of Sparta, WI. There is The Pointe Covered Bridge located in Evans-Bosshard Park. The bridge was rebuilt in 2012 and is open for bike, snowmobile, and pedestrian traffic to cross Beaver Creek that runs through the park.

Another covered bridge in Sparta is the Mary Morrow Covered Bridge. This truss bridge is designed with “town lattice”. Pedestrians, snowmobiles, and bikes use this newly constructed bridge to cross Beaver Creek in Evans-Bosshard Park. This bridge has only wooden dowels or “tree nails” to keep it held together. This special bridge, completed in 2014, was built to replace a failing bridge and was built “from the heart” by 5 volunteers known as The Five Shovelmen.

Beaver Creek Covered Bridge is located downtown near what is now the farmers market and where the Kriskindlmarkt is held in December. The area had been “run down” and the bridge was the first bit of revitalization done in that part of town and it was a great project to get things started!

There are several bridges that are open only to pedestrians. The CNW – Farmers Valley Creek Bridge was abandoned by the Chicago & Northwestern Railway and is now available as a means for walkers/runners to cross Farmers Creek. The rail bed through Sparta is now a greenway so it’s a wonderful walk/run in the southwestern part of the town.

Perhaps the most famous bridge in Sparta is the Ben Bikin’ Park Footbridge. Ben Bikin’ is the mascot for Sparta’s claim to fame as the Biking Capital of America. The bridge crosses the La Crosse River and leads you into the Park honoring ol’ Ben! This truss bridge was built by The Five Shovelmen in 2011.

Obviously cars and trucks also have to cross the creeks and rivers in Sparta and there are unique bridges that carry vehicles too. The Milwaukee Avenue Viaduct carries about 6,700 vehicles per day high across Milwaukee Street on Wisconsin Avenue. This bridge was originally built in 1939 and rehabilitated in 1990.

The Farmers Valley Creek Bridge carries cars and trucks across the creek on Milwaukee Street. This concrete stringer bridge was built in 1927 and still stands proud.

The newest bridge in Sparta is The Five Shovelmen’s Bridge – so named to honor the volunteer work of five gentlemen who have had a hand in rebuilding, preserving, and recognizing so many of these landmark structures. Jim Cook, All Jenkins, Jerry Kast, Reinhard Mueller, and Kerry Schumann are the builders of this new bridge that will connect Amundson Park with the La Crosse River State Park. The bridge is an 80–foot span crossing the La Crosse River.

On September 20, 2016, Wisconsin’s First Lady, Tonette Walker, will be present to help with the dedication of the new bridge and walk a bridge tour of Sparta. The dedication of the new bridge is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm at Amundsen Park. The walking tour will begin at Ben Bikin’ Park at 2:30 pm and be about 2 miles in length highlighting the bridges in Sparta’s parks. The event is free! Participants are encouraged to wear good walking shoes, bring a light jacket, and insect repellent.

Come out on September 20 , 2016 and join Wisconsin’s first lady in supporting the volunteers who make Sparta’s parks great!

 

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