Recently installed span will give pedestrians a route between north, south portions
Work on Port Washington’s coal dock recently ended for the year, but not before a major improvement was put in place.
A stately bridge linking the north and south portions of the coal dock was put in place by Pfeifer Bros. Construction Co.
The bridge was brought to the site in two pieces, which were then attached by workers and lifted by crane onto their footings.
Although the bridge is in place, it isn’t open to the public. A fence blocks people from using it to travel from the seven-acre south dock, which is open, to the 13-acre north dock, which is still under construction.
Work on the north dock is expected to begin again sometime in mid to late March, with work on the dock completed in time for a June 22 grand opening. The Coal Dock Committee is still working on plans for the formal opening.
“Barring a terribly rainy spring, I don’t see any problem finishing on schedule,” Port Washington Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said. “I’m happy with the progress they made this year. The setting of the bridge exceeded my expectations. Originally, I didn’t expect that to be done until spring.”
A significant amount of the infrastructure work for the park was done this fall. The roughly 1,000-foot-long, 18-foot-wide promenade along the north side of the coal dock was completed and an adjoining crane rail bench created over the old rails used to transport coal from the dock to the power plant.
The pipe chase for water service and conduit for electrical and sewer services are in place.
Topsoil removed for those utility services was stored to be used for a berm on the south side of the dock.
Next spring, construction crews will excavate the road going into the dock and pave it, as well as the driveway, sidewalks and interior pathways.
Light fixtures will be installed, along with the promenade railing.
Items such as benches, trash cans and bike racks will also be installed.
Work to naturalize and restore the banks along Sauk Creek will also be done.
A World War II memorial is already installed on the dock, and other amenities are expected to be added to the park in the future. Those could include a community center, interactive children’s garden and water feature.
But even when the work in spring is completed, the coal dock will be among the city’s premier amenities, showcasing the lakefront in a way not done before.
“It’s going to be a tremendous enhancement,” Vanden Noven said. “When it’s completed, you’ll be able to walk along the lakefront from the north beach to the south beach — about two miles.
“With its connection to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, it will be a pretty neat place to walk or bike.”
CONSTRUCTION CREWS on Dec. 13 assembled and then set in place the bridge that spans the intake channel between the north and south coal docks. While complete, the bridge will not be open to the public until late next spring. Photo by Sam Arendt