Hoan Bridge Safety Question Pursued

February 1, 2017

By Katherine Keller

Rep. Christine Sinicki met with Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials Jan. 20 in the aftermath of the Dec. 19 traffic fatality that took the life of 27-year-old Christopher Weber who was driving over the Hoan Bridge when his pickup truck plummeted from the bridge, landing on the pavement 50 feet below.

Icy road conditions are believed to have contributed to Weber losing control of his vehicle.

Sinicki said she has asked DOT officials to investigate the height of the Hoan’s barriers. She noted that prior to the redecking of the bridge, steel railings were attached to the top of the concrete barriers that increased the barrier height. Sections of the barriers that lead to the bridge on the northern section of I-794 still possess the railings.

DOT officials told Sinicki that a national group that tests and makes barrier recommendations said that even if the railings had been in place, it is possible they would not have prevented the truck from going over the barrier.

Sinicki said she’s requested engineering reports and options that would improve the bridge’s safety.

She noted that there was also a discussion about adding digital signs to the bridge approaches to warn drivers of unsafe conditions including ice and high winds.

DOT officials agreed to a follow-up meeting in the next six weeks or so, although Sinicki hoped it would be sooner. “In the meantime, I will continue to talk to county officials about snowplowing and look to see if there is a better, safer way to plow the bridge,” she said.

State Senator Chris Larson and Rep. Jonathan Brostoff also attended the meeting.

Weber was employed at Odd Duck, a restaurant in Bay View, at the time of his death.

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