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Vilas County makes plans to inspect recreation bridges

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All recreation bridges used by either snowmobiles, ATV-UTVs, jointly or separately, are owned by Vilas County according to county recreation administrator Todd Bierman.

“We have 35 bridges and they need to be inspected for safety,” Bierman said. “Five are rated for 25,000 pounds and the rest for less weight. The inspections would cost $200 per bridge and be only for damage, not for weight use.”

Supervisor Ron DeBruyne felt it was important to have a third party do inspections for liability reasons but also felt weight limits needed to be posted.

“The safety of users is important and there needs to be a weight limit sign on each bridge,” DeBruyne said. “I rode in a groomer that weighed 22,000 pounds going over a bridge rated for 20,000 pounds and that made me nervous.”

The committee approved inspecting half of the bridges each year or more often if significant damage occurs.

Bierman told the committee the county was approved for $111,646 in state grants but was turned down for a 600-foot boardwalk over a wetland west of Chain O’ Lakes Road. This section is not a trail along Highway 45, but maps don’t clearly show no trail connection at this location.

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