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Aerial view of DePere Riverwalk People using pedestrian bridge on DePere Riverwalk Lift bridge in De Pere Wisconsin Riverwalk Sideview of Bridge that is part of Riveralk in DePere

De Pere Riverwalk & Wildlife Viewing Pier

The De Pere Riverwalk and Wildlife Viewing Pier was a simple concept that turned into a challenging project. A variety of technical, regulatory, and financial challenges needed to be overcome.

In October, 2007, after 10 years of planning, design, and construction, WisDOT replaced the 75 year old Claude Allouez Bridge over the Fox River in the City of De Pere. As a part of the replacement project, the bridge was relocated upstream of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) dam. It was prior to the old bridge’s removal that GRAEF suggested the concept for the Riverwalk project to the City. When time came to move forward, the City elected to work with GRAEF to provide design and construction engineering for this exceptional recreational facility.

Originally, the plan was to use a section of the old bridge piers and footings to support a 600 foot long pedestrian pier over the Fox River, downstream of the USACE dam. Yet, preliminary evaluation suggested that it would be more cost-effective to build and maintain new piers on the existing footings, which the City ultimately decided to do. In addition to the pedestrian pier, the project included a fixed span pedestrian truss bridge, a European-style lift bridge, a raised boardwalk, and a fishing dock.

In early 2007, a group of stakeholders and regulatory agencies held their first meeting to discuss the project. The discussions continued for three years until December 2013, when necessary WDNR approvals were received. In addition to environmental regulatory concerns, the project site included the De Pere Lock and Dam Historic District that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All design decisions took the historical resources on the project site into consideration.

The project was constructed in two phases to accomodate a complex construction schedule and available funding sources. The project was ultimately completed in April 2013. The people of De Pere, residents from neighboring communities, and out of town visitors can now enjoy a new recreational facility on the Fox River. A previously difficult to access natural and historical resource is being enjoyed by many!

Awards: ACEC-WI, ASCE Wisconsin Chapter

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