DECORAH — The replacement of the Daley Bridge north of Bluffton could begin later this year, but likely won’t be completed until next year, according to Winneshiek County Engineer Lee Bjerke.
The bridge over the Upper Iowa River north of Bluffton collapsed in May when a grain semi-trailer weighing nearly 15 tons attempted to cross the bridge that had a posted three-ton load limit. The driver, Justin Hippen, 29, of Parkersburg, was not injured and was charged with violating a weight embargo and failure to obey a traffic control device.
The county recently reached a $140,000 settlement for the damage to the bridge with the insurance company for Sinclair Elevator, which employed Hippen. Bjerke said the estimate for a new bridge is $900,000 to $1 million.
Built in 1874, the Daley Bridge was a bowstring bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bjerke said the settlement was for the value of its remaining life.
Another bridge near Bluffton — a 100-year-old Pratt thru high truss — has been closed since August 2016 when the Upper Iowa flooded.
Bjerke said originally there were plans to repair the bridge, but it’s now been determined the bridge should be replaced with a new structure upstream. The existing bridge, located near a county park, will remain in place but closed to traffic. The engineer said he’s hoping the new bridge on Chimney Rock Road will be built during the summer of 2019.