Work Begins to Light up Grand Ave. Bridge

Tom Giffey |

The revamped Grand Avenue Bridge  during last year’s Grand Evening on the Bridge
The revamped Grand Avenue Bridge during last year’s Grand Evening on the Bridge event.

Weekday walkers, bikers, and other peddlers and perambulators will have to find a new way around downtown for the next few weeks because of the second phase of work on the Grand Avenue Pedestrian Footbridge. The installation of architectural lighting on the bridge began April 8, and will continue for between two weeks and a month, depending on weather conditions, the City of Eau Claire said. For safety reasons, the bridge will be closed 7am-5pm weekdays (although it will be open at other times and on weekends). Those who use the bridge to get around are encouraged to follow a detour path that goes east on Grand Avenue to Graham Avenue, north across the new Confluence Crossing Bridge, west across the Phoenix Park Bridge, then south along the trail toward Grand Avenue. The bridge was completely closed for several months last year during the first phase of a $1.7 million renovation project that included replacing the bridge’s decking and railings and widening its surface. The latest phase includes the installation of lighting on the bridge’s piers, overlooks, and abutments, City Engineer David Solberg said. These lights – as well as those that illuminate the bridge’s walking surface – will be able to change colors, similar to the lights on the Phoenix Park Bridge. Eventually, the downtown light show will encompass a continuous strip including the Phoenix Park Bridge, the Confluence Crossing Bridge, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, Haymarket Plaza, and the Grand Avenue bridge, Solberg added.